If not Guantanamo, then where? When President Barack Obama signed an order forcing the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, he put in sharp relief the possibility that some of the world’s most potentially dangerous terrorism suspects could be hauled to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Leavenworth, Ks., say McClatchy Newspapers. They are among nearly 200 men whose legal status is as murky as their backgrounds.
Obama’s long-promised action heightened chances that Leavenworth could be the new focus for a contentious debate over how to prosecute noncitizens for alleged actions overseas and whether their legal limbo has a foreseeable end. Kansas politicians and local government officials have complained loudly about the possibility of America’s most troublesome captives being brought to the Midwest. Opponents’ arguments center on security – both that the military prison might not be equipped for such high-risk inmates and that the base and the community might be targeted by terrorists. Some 245 men are being held at the Guantanamo prison camp. Most have been held for years without being charged with any crime. Roughly 60 have been cleared of accusations, but their home countries have refused their return. Another undetermined number could be shipped to their home countries or to third-party nations seen as open to such overtures from the Obama administration. A significant majority likely will remain in U.S. custody, either to face prosecution or because Washington considers them too great a threat to walk free.