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U.S. to Announce Transfer of Detainees To Ill. Prison

U.S. to Announce Transfer of Detainees To Ill. Prison

Inside the Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois. (AP Photo)

The Washington Post via YellowBrix

December 15, 2009

CHICAGO – Dozens of terrorism suspects being held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be moved to a little-used Illinois state prison that will be acquired and upgraded by the federal government, an Obama administration official said.

The critical step toward fulfilling President Obama’s pledge to shut the Guantanamo detention center will be announced Tuesday, said the official, who reported that Obama has ordered the acquisition of the eight-year-old Thomson Correctional Center, about 150 miles northwest of Chicago.

Obama made the move despite the objections of Republicans in Congress and in Illinois, where critics say the transfer of prisoners — some for indefinite detention, some for trial — could make the state a target for terrorists. Rep. Mark Kirk has called the move “an unnecessary risk.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that a bipartisan majority in Congress “already rejected bringing terrorists to U.S. soil for long-term detention.”

Related: Guantanamo Detainee Move Could Create Law Enforcement 3,000 Jobs

“The administration has failed to explain how transferring terrorists to Gitmo North will make Americans safer than keeping these terrorists off of our shores in the secure facility in Cuba,” said McConnell in a written statement.

In telegraphing the announcement, the official said closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay “is essential to protecting our national security and helping our troops by removing a deadly recruiting tool from the hands of al- Qaeda.”

Preliminary administration calculations suggest that the 1,600-bed state prison, currently housing about 200 minimum security inmates, could be upgraded for Guantanamo detainees and other federal prisoners in roughly six months. One official described the intended security level as “beyond supermax.”

Before prisoners can be moved, Congress must vote to allow detainees to be housed on U.S. soil for reasons other than trial.

The administration envisions the prison grounds in rural Thomson, close to the Mississippi River, as a place for prolonged detention and a site of future military commission trials.

The offer to sell the prison to the federal government came from the village president in October. It quickly won the support of the Illinois Democratic leadership, including Gov. Pat Quinn and Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, who are scheduled to be briefed at the White House on Tuesday afternoon.

Durbin estimated that the move from Guantanamo could create as many as 3,000 jobs.

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  • 1460209889_m_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Another brilliant move from Obama.

  • Cot_max50


    over 4 years ago


    the jobs are well needed but this is definitely the wrong reason

  • My_kids_027_max50


    over 4 years ago


    This has been a tender subject for a while now. The federal government just put a bullseye on the state of Illinois and what better access point than the Mississippi river. Every department along and even close to the Mississippi River will most definitely feel an impact due to this decision. When the economy is shot and they are cutting our budgets nationwide and every department is short handed why not drop a couple thousand terrorists in the middle of the country. Not only are we gonna have to deal with terrorists coming into the country trying to free there "brothers" we are also going to be dealing with more of our bleeding hearts that are going to be trying to free these guys. My big question is when they do free these guys what are they gonna do just turn them loose in the states or are they gonna actually send them back where they come from. I'm glad to hear that there are gonna be more jobs opened during a time that we definitely need them, but I just don't see how anything good can come out of this.

  • Native_clip_art_4_049_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Another brilliant decision. Bring the terrorist here to an antiquated run down prison and wait and see what happens. Illinois politics at its worst. Wonder why in Illinois, any possibility that the head is from that state. Hope things change somehow before this stupidity acutally happens. Creating 3000 jobs is BS. If they want that, then rehire the layed off officers

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    My 81 year old dad lives within walking distance of this poorly maintained facility...this is IL politics at it's best. Pray for my dad, and pray that we have a change of administration before this actually happens.

  • 2_max50


    over 4 years ago



  • Police_link_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago


    More stupid decisions..............

  • Badge__hat_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Another brilliant idea from the Obama camp. These terrorists should be held as far away from the US Populace as possible. How about a very remote island in the Pacific, perhaps Palmyra Island or some other desolate place surrounded by the vast Pacific and lots of sharks. Try them in miliary courts and then feed them to the sharks.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Mr. President these are your "guests". So why don't put them up at the White House!!!!!! You would spare all 50 states from a great big headache!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    I guess I just don't get the whole "We want these POS's in custody, just not on our soil. COME ON!

  • Spartan_cops_max50


    over 4 years ago


    You wanted CHANGE Illinois, here you go..............

  • Tazer_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    BIG thumbs down!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Thumbs down on this crap.
    These are the kind of jobs we don't need. Not at the expense of national security.
    Just another "bright idea" of this administration.

  • Nado_max50


    over 4 years ago


    You know i was just thinkin bout the phrase keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but this is not how literal i thought it would be taken. Kudos for the tax dollars it brings in to the town, naturally its going to be very uneasy for a good while.

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