Jenkins visits Guantanamo, says closing ‘unnecessary’

As she toured the prison Monday at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins said President Barack Obama should put forward a plan before closing the detention facility.

“I am hopeful he will put aside politics and take into account the potential risks of moving these detainees and the huge sum of taxpayer dollars it will take to either build a new facility or majorly upgrade an existing one,” said Jenkins, a Republican, in a statement.

The state’s congressional delegation has been opposed to housing any of the detainees at the military prison in northeastern Kansas. Obama has vowed to close the detention facility by January 2010, but the administration has not named a specific site or sites where the detainees will be transferred.

Jenkins toured Guantanamo with a House delegation, and she called it a “state-of-the-art detention facility” so large that it would “be physically impossible to recreate” a similar one at Fort Leavenworth.

“Closing Guantanamo Bay is unnecessary and doing it without a plan to relocate the detainees is irresponsible,” Jenkins said. “And I will continue my fight to keep suspected terrorists from being transferred to Fort Leavenworth.”

In other Kansas congressional news, a Survey USA poll conducted last weekend continues to show a tight Republican primary Senate race between Rep. Jerry Moran and Rep. Todd Tiahrt.

The two are seeking the seat of Sen. Sam Brownback, who will run for governor. The poll has Moran, of Hays, ahead 40 percent to 38 percent over Tiahrt, of Goddard, with 22 percent of voters still undecided. Conservatives favored Tiahrt in the poll, while more moderates chose Moran.