WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback (R-KS) placed legislative “holds” on key Administration appointees to the Departments of Defense and Justice until they receive answers from the White House regarding recent press reports that decisions have been made to locate Guantanamo Bay detainees in Leavenworth, Kansas or Standish, Michigan. In addition to the holds, the Senators requested either assurance that Leavenworth, Kansas was not an option, or answers to the following questions regarding the safety and logistics involved.
The following requests were asked of the White House:
1. A brief conducted by Defense Secretary Gates and Attorney General Holder or the senior officials they have tasked with representing them on the task force.
2. A list of all the agencies and officials, or their designees, assigned to the task force, including any White House involvement.
3. A list of all the facilities and sites they have visited or that are under consideration for detention.
4. An explanation as to whether the task force has visited with the senior leadership at Ft. Leavenworth about the feasibility of holding the detainees on the fort, the impact such a change in mission will have on their current operations (particularly the education mission of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the impact housing detainees on fort will have on foreign nations’ participation)? If this has not been done, why not?
5. A written estimation of the costs and needs associated with the remodeling and repositioning of Fort Leavenworth, including those of new housing, medical, and classified judicial spaces on base, security measures on and around the fort, and expansion of the fort’s current property line via eminent domain to achieve appropriate stand off space.
6. A written economic analysis of the costs and needs of state and local government to adjust to a detainee mission, including but not limited to the cost and personnel associated with increased staffing of police, emergency response, judicial offices, and security for all public spaces. This also includes a security and economic analysis on the impact to Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and the local transportation system if detainees were to be transported through MCI to Fort Leavenworth and an analysis on the potential impact of international trade, for any state or region holding the detainees, with trade partners that may be opposed to the United States holding these detainees? How does the task force propose to pay for or reimburse these adjustments?
7. An explanation as to whether number 5 has been discussed with Fort Leavenworth officials and whether number 6 has been discussed with the community, including law enforcement, schools, medical facilities, and the Chamber of Commerce. If not, why not?
8. A classified list and background of every prisoner considered for placement in Ft. Leavenworth and the possible threats to community that either the prisoner poses or that his colleagues in the jihad against American culture pose.
9. A detailed explanation of where the task force plans to move the 430 military prisoners currently housed at Fort Leavenworth. Will they move to the federal system? If so, how does the task force plan to resolve lawsuits for those individuals that do not want to be discharged from the military? How will the task force ensure the military prisoners will receive the same quality rehabilitation in federal prison that they receive in military prison at Fort Leavenworth? Will these changes be permanent, and what will be the legal impacts for the Universal Code of Military Justice and all future military prisoners?
10. What is the time line for a final decision and movement of detainees? How will they be housed, tried and transported if the time line ends prior to adjustments being made at their final destination?
11. Does the task force recommend allowing a train to continue running through the post? If not, how does the task force propose adjusting train traffic, schedules, etc?
Senators Roberts and Brownback are vehemently opposed to the notion of housing the detainees from Gitmo at Ft. Leavenworth. The Kansas Congressional delegation is united against this idea and cited in a letter yesterday to President Obama the total lack of local support for such a proposal and the many security risks it raises for our Kansas communities.