Archive for Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kansas senators say detainees won’t be coming to Fort Leavenworth

September 16, 2009, 12:25 p.m. Updated September 16, 2009, 4:49 p.m.


— Kansas’ U.S. senators, who insisted that Guantanamo detainees were unwelcome at Fort Leavenworth, have been told by the Obama administration that the prisoners are likely headed elsewhere.

In return, the lawmakers said Wednesday that they would stop blocking President Barack Obama’s nominees for senior posts at the Pentagon and Justice Department.

Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, both Republicans, had been standing in the way of the confirmation of New York Republican Rep. John McHugh for Army secretary and of nominees before the Senate for other senior Defense and Justice Department positions. A single senator can delay action on a bill or nomination by placing “holds” on them and blocking them from advancing in the legislative process.

The two senators said they have been meeting with administration officials to explain the “obstacles and challenges” of moving Guantanamo detainees to the military penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth as well as expressing the concerns from residents.

“We had discussions with several administration officials and they indicated to both myself and Sen. Roberts that Leavenworth was not a suitable site for detainees,” Brownback said.

Obama’s administration wants to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay by a self-imposed deadline in January. It has been wrestling with legal questions on how to prosecute and where to house the 226 suspected al-Qaida, Taliban and foreign fighters held at the military prison in Cuba.

The administration, meanwhile, is seeking another two-month delay in a handful of key military commission trials of detainees. The previous delay granted in six cases ends Thursday, but a congressional staff member and a Defense Department official, who spoke condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, said the administration was about to ask the judges in those cases to grant a 60-day extension.

The Kansas senators’ certainty that the detainees were headed somewhere else raises questions about whether the administration has chosen to house them in Michigan. A maximum security prison in Standish, Mich., has also been considered a possible location. Some officials in Michigan had wanted the detainees because of the need for jobs.

Federal and state officials visited the maximum-security prison in Standish last month to determine whether it was suitable for holding the detainees.

Brownback said administration officials told him the detainees would go only to a place where the community would accept them, “and clearly Leavenworth and the state of Kansas doesn’t want detainees.”

He said foreign countries that send students to Fort Leavenworth’s Command General Staff College don’t want them trained at the same site as the detainees.

“Those two issues seemed to be playing high in the administration’s review,” Brownback said.

Post spokeswoman Becky Steed declined to comment Wednesday, referring questions to the Pentagon and White House.

But Leavenworth City Manager Scott Miller said the biggest concern for local officials was that bringing the detainees to the post would change its mission and hurt the war college.

“If the terrorists were brought here, does that mission change, does that perception of Fort Leavenworth change?” he said. “We think it would.”

As for safety issues, Miller noted that the post is home to a military prison and the city, a federal prison. Nearby Lansing is home to the state’s oldest maximum-security prison.

“We can deal with prisoners. That doesn’t scare us,” he said.

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson appeared ready to declare the issue resolved for his state.

“I am glad that our congressional delegation has come to this conclusion and we can now put this issue behind us,” Parkinson said.


Stuart Evans 8 years, 9 months ago

If only we had some portion of an island that was close enough to the US, but still not part of our actual nation. And it would be great if that place had existing facilities and military manpower to oversee the prison. Now that would be a terrific place to keep high value detainees.

by the way O, you've only got about 4 months to get it closed. After that, I'm sending Rep. Wilson over to call you out.

Chris Golledge 8 years, 9 months ago


Why would it be so great?

Is it because the holding of prisoners is vital to the military mission of the troops stationed there?

Is it because, since it isn't part of the US, the prior administration was able to skirt around US laws that would apply if the prisoners were on US soil?

Why exactly?

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

Too bad, because Leavenworth an ideal place for them. Brownback and Roberts could have gotten something useful for their cooperation, but instead they got something stupid and pointless. Way to go.

Ralph Reed 8 years, 9 months ago

Again, as I said on another thread. Political grandstanding on the highest order for personal gain. Keep his name in front of the state media for his election to governor.

Abbefaria 8 years, 9 months ago

Seems to me that it was Un-American to not do our part in the war on terror.

63BC 8 years, 9 months ago

Both recent Democratic Governors, both Senators, unanimous bipartisan majorities of the Legislature, the entire local leadership of Leavenworth County---even the Democratic Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee [Ike Skelton, MO] ALL said Leavenworth was ill-suited to this mission.

But the folks who got it done, who delivered for Kansas again---Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts.

That's what the haters on this board don't get. They win elections because they consistently fight and win for Kansas.

Score another one for the home team!

1029 8 years, 9 months ago

Thank God. Now we'll all be safe from the terror hopefully. I was getting really scared there for awhile and even put my house up for sale in preparation for possibly having to leave the state of Kansas. This is a giant step towards victory in the War on Terror.

Tom McCune 8 years, 9 months ago

They probably could have gotten $250 million earmarked to build a whole new facility on federal land not on the Ft. Leavenworth federal reservation. "Oh, the USDB isn't setup for that that! And the Federal Penitentiary can't legally be used for POWs (or whatever they are). We need to build a whole new supermax facility for these dangerous guys. And we could use the stimulus money and create jobs." Smooth move, Brownnote. Considering the jobs impact, you left a billion dollars lying on the table that could have come to Kansas.

kcgregory 8 years, 9 months ago


I assume that was meant to be funny because I laughed out loud. You never know where sarcasm starts on these boards though.

gccs14r 8 years, 9 months ago

NIMBY is pretty easy to support as a politician. No big surprise that all of ours signed on.

If you call wire cages an adequate facility. Chickens are better-kept. Besides, Guantanamo is a naval base and kept open just to keep a thorn in the side of Castro. It has little military value.

puddleglum 8 years, 9 months ago

i hear missouri has some area available for detainees.. seriously, why are we not doing our part in the war on terror? I would have been proud to spend my tax dollars here knowing that we were holding these very dangerous peoples

Stuart Evans 8 years, 9 months ago

well CG, my point is not whether or not we should have detainees, my point is why should we move them from an existing chunk of American real estate (where American laws are used), to bring them here. What a waste of money. If Obama wanted to make a difference in GITMO, he should have just said that in one year, everyone at GITMO will be charged with a crime. Once charged, court dates can be set, and we can determine if they are criminals, pow's, or just need to be sent home. But O wants to bring them here and then do that. what's the point? It's all about appearance with this guy. if we move them, then all is well in the world. bullsh!t.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 9 months ago

Those rightfully concerned about the terror threat related to terror detainees being housed in Kansas have reason to celebrate.

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 9 months ago

If this is all these two senators can do is use bully tactics then they are pathetic.

Danimal 8 years, 9 months ago

Everybody needs to write Roberts and Brownback. I for one think KS would be a great place to house these guys, throw them into the GP in Leavenworth. Plus as a state we could get the Fed to cover all of our budget shortfalls in return for accepting these inmates. If California can get billions in bailout for nothing, surely we can get a couple hundred million to house some of the most dangerous men on Earth.

ksdivakat 8 years, 9 months ago

Correct me if Im wrong, but isnt there a supermax facility in MI that is completely empty? That was built to house the worst of the worst and is extremely large?? Why would you want to bring them to KS, and have to rebuild existing facilities, when there is one up there? Also, I think that most people equate these people with american criminals. Meaning that we house seriel killers, seriel rapist, why couldnt we house terrorists?? The difference is that the terrorists were and are wanting to kill thousands of Americans, and sad as it may sound, seriel killers usually dont get hundreds or thousands of people, and are certainly not a national threat. I never was for this, maybe it is the whole NIMBY issue for me, but I just never could get comfortable with the idea, so Im glad the decision was made.

Martini_Boy 8 years, 9 months ago

Jeez, this might just be the way politics work.... DEAL WITH IT. If O really wanted it to happen he could do it. He OBVIOUSLY could care less if these terrorist end up in Kansas because it ain't that big of deal. Why flap your gums over something that won't have any impact on your life what so ever. Oh ya, I forgot all political issues are worth dividing our country over......

truman1902 8 years, 9 months ago

So, is the Sunflower State's razor wire LESS safe than the razor wire in Michigan?? Now that THIS issue deflection is apparently behind us, perhaps Sam & Pat will have some spare hours to go over the health care bills before they give them the thuimbs DOWN..

The Baucus Bill is a TROJAN HORSE!! The public option is warming up on the sidelines..There aren't enough Becks, Levins nor Limbaughs on board to stop the surge..THANK GOD!!

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 9 months ago

The Baucus Bill is a Joke, read it carefully.

Sean Livingstone 8 years, 9 months ago

"AreUNorml (Anonymous) says…

If only we had some portion of an island that was close enough to the US, but still not part of our actual nation. And it would be great if that place had existing facilities and military manpower to oversee the prison. Now that would be a terrific place to keep high value detainees."

American Samoa? Pueto Rico? Or maybe, just maybe, secede Texas and Alaska, and give the terrorists to them. Just give them some money every year.

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 9 months ago

Good job Senators! Keep that trash in Gitmo.

pace 8 years, 9 months ago

I don't care who agrees with their duck and cover their rear approach. I think they are cowards and need to be replaced by people with honor and guts and some thinking ability.
they are leading Kansas to the rear through cowardice, they have become the party of fear and fear mongering. I will be contributing to people who want to get America out of the situations the wingnut republicans have led us into.

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