Kansas Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt released a document Thursday that shows the Pentagon may have broken the law by spending federal funds on a survey to find suitable U.S. prisons to store Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Schmidt said the Department of Defense may have run afoul of a law preventing the Obama administration from spending any funds on relocating prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to U.S. soil when it spent $26,000 to conduct surveys into secure prison facilities at places like Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, the Associated Press reports.
Schmidt obtained the document as part of a lawsuit he filed in July to gain documents about plans to transfer detainees to the U.S. The DOD’s response has been that it will not release documents until after the presidential election takes place.
Fort Leavenworth is home to a maximum security prison. Other states surveyed included Colorado and South Carolina. The Pentagon spent $7,000 to survey Fort Leavenworth, another $7,000 to look into a Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina and $11,000 to survey Colorado.
Last week, the House approved a bill to block transfers of detainees from Gitmo, even if those detainees are being sent to a foreign country. Consistent opposition from the GOP-dominated Congress has frustrated President Barack Obama’s goal to shutter the prison facility since 2008, when he made his original campaign promise to end Guantanamo Bay once and for all.
“With President Obama’s time in office winding down, accelerating transfers to achieve a campaign promise puts Americans at risk,” bill sponsor GOP Rep. Jackie Walorski said. “I am grateful to stand here with the national security leaders in this House on this bill, and to remind the American people that our first priority is the safety and security of our fellow Americans.”
The administration has relied on a number of arguments to try and persuade Republicans of the need to close the facility, namely that it helps terrorists recruit moderate Muslims and also that it imposes an unnecessary fiscal burden.
Those arguments haven’t convinced very many Republicans. And Republicans like GOP Sen. John McCain, who agree with the administration’s goal to close the facility, have remained frustrated by endless delays and a dearth of concrete plans, leading to disillusionment with the White House.
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