Politics
In this photo reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense, towers overlooking a U.S. detention facility are silhouetted against a morning sunrise at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Toronto Star, Michelle Shephard, Pool) In this photo reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense, towers overlooking a U.S. detention facility are silhouetted against a morning sunrise at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Toronto Star, Michelle Shephard, Pool)  

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: GAO report shows Gitmo can be closed without jeopardizing national security

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday released a report by the Government Accountability Office analyzing the feasibility of transferring the 166 detainees currently in custody at Guantanamo Bay to domestic prisons in the United States.

“This report demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantanamo without imperiling our national security,” Feinstein said. The senator requested the report in 2008.

“To say that high-risk detainees cannot be held securely in a maximum security prison is just plain wrong,” she continued. “The United States already holds 373 individuals convicted of terrorism in 98 facilitates across the country. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a single security problem reported in any of these cases.”

According to the report, it costs $114 million annually to maintain the offshore Guantanamo Bay detention facility, which holds prisoners suspected of terrorism.

Feinstein noted that the report says the Bureau of Prisons already holds 373 convicted terrorists in 98 facilities. With some modifications, the report notes, six Defense Department facilities and 98 Justice Department facilities could be used to house the transferred Gitmo detainees.

President Barack Obama promised to close the facility during the 2008 presidential campaign. In 2009, he signed an executive order requiring the prison to be closed within a year.

But the Guantanamo Bay detention center remains open, which some critics claim is Obama’s fault.

“Obviously Congress has taken a number of steps to prevent the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but the president still believes it’s in our national security interest and will keep trying,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement reported by ABC News in July.

According to Fox News’s Catherine Herridge, Fox News had initially exclusively obtained the GAO study — dated Nov. 14. But only two hours after inquiring about the report, Feinstein’s office officially released it.

“Sen. Feinstein’s request for this GAO report raises even more suspicion about plans by the Obama administration to transfer Guantanamo detainees to U.S. prisons, and even more troubling is the fact that the report’s findings were kept secret from the Congress and the American public,” Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, the chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department’s budget, told Fox News.

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