Brownback Says No to Detainees in Kansas

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today castigated reports stating that the Obama Administration has settled on two possible locations to move the detainees currently held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, one of those being Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

"Enemy combatants should under no circumstances be housed at Fort Leavenworth," said Brownback. "It makes no sense to spend millions and millions of dollars to build what we already have at Guantanamo. And it makes even less sense to try to force fit them at Fort Leavenworth which is not well suited for this purpose."

Brownback and the Kansas Congressional delegation have long spoken out against moving detainees to Fort Leavenworth for a long list of reasons. Brownback and Senator Roberts sent a Dear Colleague letter to fellow senators in June of last year explaining their opposition. Brownback visited Guantanamo Bay in May of this year and commented that it would take years and millions of dollars to create a facility that could match it. He also sponsored an amendment that unanimously passed the Senate which calls on the federal government to consult with state and local governments prior to transferring the Guantanamo detainees to the United States.

Brownback continued, "Fort Leavenworth is a medium security facility with one maximum security wing that can house only 30 prisoners. That wing could not handle all that is required for detainees, support staff, and court facilities. The prison is on the edge of the base bordered by farms and a river, there is not enough room to build everything they are talking about building. Leavenworth has no full-time hospital on base, so I can't imagine why they plan to go to the trouble to build a court house next to a prison to avoid transporting detainees, when they will have to be moved right past elementary schools and the public airport for simple medical needs. It seems silly to try to create a whole new system of detaining and adjudicating enemy combatants when Guantanamo is up and running and doing a good job.

"It's illegal to co-mingle military prisoners and enemy combatants, so what do they plan to do with all the people currently in Fort Leavenworth? And several previous students from the Staff College have made it clear their countries would be less likely to attend if they knew detainees were also there. Moving detainees to Fort Leavenworth will have a serious adverse effect on the primary mission of the base, the Command and General Staff College along with several other schools housed at Fort Leavenworth with are collectively known as "the Intellectual Center of the Army.

"This is a bad idea chasing after another bad idea on a hurry up timeline."