May 20th, 2009
01:11 PM ET
5 years ago

Senate: don't release Gitmo detainees into U.S.

The Senate passed a bill today that would prevent detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison from being transferred into the United States.
The Senate passed a bill today that would prevent detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison from being transferred into the United States.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The U.S. Senate passed a measure Wednesday that would prevent detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from being transferred to the United States for now.

The measure passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 90-6 vote. A similar amendment has already passed the House. It was attached to a supplemental war funding bill.

Following in the steps of House Democrats, Senate Democrats rejected on Tuesday the administration's request for $80 million to close the Guantanamo facility. They instead asked that President Barack Obama first submit a plan spelling out what the administration will do with the prisoners when it closes the prison.

The moves by the Democratic-controlled Congress are considered a sharp rebuke to Obama, who is slated to give a speech Thursday on the future of Guantanamo Bay.

Obama, in one of his first official duties as president, announced that he would close the prison by January 22, 2010.

Congressional Democrats, however, are now attempting to avoid an onslaught of criticism from Republicans, who argue it would be reckless to shutter the prison before deciding where to transfer the detainees.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told members of Congress earlier Wednesday that he is concerned about the potential dangers that may result from the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States.

In response to a question from Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller said he was concerned about the potential for fundraising to support terrorist groups and the radicalization of others, as well as the potential for attacks within the country.

Mueller also said that while he is not concerned about dangerous terrorists escaping from maximum security federal prisons, he is concerned about the potential of activities being directed from within prison walls, and he cited such actions by dangerous gang members.

Attorney General Eric Holder promised a Senate committee on May 7 he will not release suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo into the United States.

He was less clear about what would be done with any detainees the administration decides are not terrorists.

"We would not bring them into this country and release them, anyone we would consider to be a terrorist," Holder told the panel. He said the safety of the American public will be his "paramount concern."

–CNN's Terry Frieden contributed to this report


Filed under: Guantanamo Bay • Senate
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. So Tired of This

    Do we have to do everything out of fear? Always afraid. Never able to make a decision. Hiding in bunkers. So proud.

    May 20, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Mississippi Mike

    Hey, I have an idea. We could dump them all in Antarctica and film the hilarity that is sure to follow. The advertising revenue would cover at least some of the costs associated with closing the base.

    May 20, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. So Tired of This

    And who said they were being released?

    May 20, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. RJN

    The White House has plenty of rooms!!!!!!
    Nothing like seeing your decisions at work.

    May 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz,VA

    I want those detainess in a federal supermax penetintiary in the U.S. Period! If they're guilty of conspiring to kill Americans, let them spend time in American prison. I bet they won't last long. On top of that, I just don't trust them being held anywhere else except here.

    May 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Tulsa

    The only ones who seem to think the detainees would be released into the US are REPUBLICANS.

    PEOPLE! They are LYING to you. AGAIN.

    May 20, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. SLM

    Good move – we don't want these terrorists here or any where else. Maybe Obama should have had a plan in place before making a promise he couldn't keep. Easier said than done, but people believed everything that came out of Campaign Obama. Now trainee Obama has to try and deliver.

    May 20, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. once upon a horse

    wow Dems and Repubs agreeing on something...there is hope yet!

    May 20, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Ron

    Why not? At least we'd know exactly where they are at all times! "Keep your enemies close."

    May 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. Jimmy the Greek

    LOL... I love it!

    After all the insults, attacks, and condemnation of President Bush... Congress and Barack are making the SAME decisions!!

    Do yall liberals like your crow plain or with Texas BBQ sauce??
    :)

    May 20, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Kevin in Ohio

    I thought Obama had a plan. I guess not...................

    May 20, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. The Teleprompter

    Imagine that! Actually requiring Hussein to have a PLAN before closing Gitmo.

    Obama, you are the weakest link! Goodbye.

    May 20, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. WhoCares?

    Congress has watched one to many Batman movies.

    These aren't Super Villians with magical powers. This isn't the Joker whose face-painted minions will use gas ballons to break these guys out of prison.

    They are human convicts...that can and should be housed in prisons.

    This is what happens when a country is ruled by fear.

    May 20, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. james

    All this controversy about releasing gitmo detainees into the US is a fake argument. IF they were found innocent, they would be deported to whereever they came from. People act as if our prisons aren't tough enough to hold these people. We HAVE maximum security prisons, where the inmates aren't allowed to mix with each other. If we can hold Charles Manson and brain eaters, surely we can hold these guys. They ARE just human after all.

    May 20, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. please

    We have super max facilities in the US that house some of the worst of the worst. There have been no escapes. If the US cannot contain a couple hundred people from Gitmo, then our national security is really in dire straights. We seriously cannot house two hundred people? We've been locking people up by the hundreds of thousands since Reagan's war on people, haven't we learned how to safely house individuals such as these?

    May 20, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Uncle Ellsworthy

    My my 90-6. Won't the liberal "progressives" have their panties in a wad now. Even the party that they claim to be members of has slapped their ideas down. Guess that goes to show that there really are some reasonable folks in both parties. Just seems that the self proclaimed "progressives" are the ones ranting the most and making the least amount of sense. It's a good thing that cooler heads prevail most of the time.

    May 20, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. ANGIE IN PA

    Whats wrong with our Prisons? Democrats and Republicans have no Faith in our Prisons Thats sad, And why Democrats are you caving into the Fear Mongering ways of the Republicans Didnt you Learn from the Iraq War to reject their Fear Mongering Ways The American people did in the Last 2 Elections

    May 20, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Julie

    So basically the first two things Obama does in office get reversed 4 months later?

    May 20, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. New Hampshire

    Maybe Nancy Pelosi can house a few

    May 20, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. jAYjAY

    we need to kick all the gang, arian, and kkk members out of our prisons & move them to gitmo now....i may be radicalized.
    child molesters & rapist, mass murderers, criminally insane you're ok in my back yard.

    May 20, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Fair is Fair

    I say we release then to Bad Newz, Virginia.

    May 20, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. Pat F

    "Down with Bush! Free the Gitmo Victims of Bush/Cheney Terror! Prosecute Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld! Crucify them! Crucify them! We have no king but Obama! Give us the Gitmo Boys – we love them! There but for the grace of God go we! They're just misunderstood!"

    [What, you mean these scum might be relocated into MY State?]

    "Never mind."

    May 20, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Ted

    Gitmo needs to be closed – it has been an international embarassment to the USA. The inmates can be safely put in one of our supermax prisons. Certainly some of the inmates currently in the supermax prisons are far more dangerous than these guys who have never been tried so that we know if they are really terrorists or not. Gitmo is an abomination and a creation of the Dictator in chief George W Bush. It needs to close. Now.

    May 20, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Billy Pilgrim

    Get real people. Our prisons house child rapists, serial killers, and house thousands of members of domestic terror groups, i.e. gangs. These terrorists are not supermen, and treating them as such by acting too scared to house them in a United States super max is giving them way more credit than they deserve, and sends a very clear message to their constituents on the outside.

    May 20, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. naqib

    LOL... oh that's rich...

    CLOSE IT.... oh wait... where are we going to put them?

    Guess what folks... GITMO isn't closing... because not a single NATO country will take them... NOBODY wants these people in their border.

    May 20, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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