Topeka — Sen. Sam Brownback has invited Barack Obama to Fort Leavenworth, saying the president-elect should see for himself that Guantanamo Bay detainees should not be moved to Kansas.
Brownback, a Kansas Republican, extended the invitation Monday. Obama had said Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week” that closing the detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay was one of his biggest challenges in taking office.
Fort Leavenworth’s U.S. Disciplinary Barracks has been mentioned as a potential site for moving the detainees, along with sites in California and South Carolina.
“Transferring Guantanamo detainees to Fort Leavenworth would be unwise and unsafe,” Brownback said.
Brownback and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., have both introduced legislation to block spending any federal money to move detainees to Fort Leavenworth. Brownback said if the military closes Guantanamo it should be replaced by a new facility capable of handling the security and other needs.
Fort Leavenworth is home to the Army’s Command and General Staff College, where U.S. and international officers are educated. It is also home to several Army centers for training, doctrine and lessons learned.
Advisers in Obama’s transition team have said the president-elect would likely issue an executive order next week ordering Guantanamo’s closure. Brownback said he hoped Obama will “take the necessary and appropriate time needed to do this right.”
Added Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., “Fort Leavenworth is not an acceptable solution for housing terrorists. Suggestions to place them there are short-sighted and dangerous and I will block such an idea at every opportunity.”
Brownback sent Obama an invitation to tour Fort Leavenworth in November, but never heard from his team.