May 20th, 2009
01:11 PM ET
9 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. Dallas Independent - thank goodness

    All the bleeding heart libs and ACLU screaming to close GITMO never thought about where the prisoners would go! What a bunch of idiots, including Nobama, campaigning about closing GITMO without further thought. No he's stuck. He is beginning to grow up some and realize that not all of the Bush tactics were failure as he is keeping many going now, much to you ditwitcrats disapproval and my delight!

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

    Well no ..........duh. Of course not! The POW's imprisoned in Guantanamo should be processed through our Judicial system, one case at a time, and IF proven innocent of wrong doing sent back to their homeland!

    Many are wrongly imprisoned at Guantanamo, and should be sent back to their home countries!


    May 20, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. John in Ohio

    I certainly can't blame Obama for not closing Guantanemo, when idiot Senators in Congress are the ones getting in his way.

    Look, people, we've got dozens of Muslim terrorists already imprisoned in ADX Florence in Colorado. Why not just expand that one, or put in a new one next to it? Imagine the temprorary construction jobs it would generate, or the permanent prison guard jobs! Our justice system is no stranger to trying monsters in court. Our prison system is no stranger to holding monsters indefinitely. I think we can handle some of these guys.

    May 20, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Independent

    Since the Dems want to shut gitmo down, why not put a couple of them in Pelosis spare bedroom and maybe a couple of them could stay in the Lincoln bedroom. Barack Obama has the same problem that Pelosi has, he runs his mouth because he likes to hear himself talk. The mess so many of you bloggers like to call the Repubs problem was actually caused in large part by the congress that was run ( stupidly I might add ) by the Dems.

    May 20, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Chris

    This is ridiculus! Apparently our prisons can hold McVey, the Unibomber, and Jeff Dahmer. But it can't take some terrorist suspects.
    This is shameful from both sides of the political spectrum.

    May 20, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. truthsayer

    This pox on our society has got to go. What are these people thinking

    May 20, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. Johnny5

    It makes since, to figure out where these prisoners would be held, before closing the prison in Guantanamo Bay.

    As far as the safety of the prisoners in Federal Prison, that's not really a concern? It's prison!

    May 20, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. David

    Torture is not the way to facilitate cooperation with other countries. The U.S. should focus more on soft power and increase the strategic foreign aid.
    The Borgen Project has good info on the estimated cost of ending global poverty:

    $30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.

    $550 billion: U.S. Defense budget.

    May 20, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Ray Fisher

    How about releasing them to their own countries to imprison prosecute, house, etc...??? We can't save the world!!!

    May 20, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. barry

    Why do we keep calling this" the U.S.A." as if they are going to be drop at a bus or tain station and tell them to go shoping. they will be going from one U.S.A prison to another. What i don't understand is us asking other countries to take some of the dataines in their prison and not willing to take any.

    May 20, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Only 6 of them have the b@llz to stand up for their convictions instead of hunkering down behind some keep-myself-blameless-in-case-something-goes-wrong legislation?

    Sounds about right.

    May 20, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Erik S.

    I don't see what the problem is, these guys get treated much better than almost anyone in the USA prison system, which many people seem to forget in this country. And it's simple, send the terrorists from Gitmo to Rikers Island, those terrorists wouldn't last a week with what the police and wardens have to deal with everyday, but you know, let’s make this even more political (if possible) then necessary. People are more worried about the losers we have in Gitmo then our own citizens who are abused in the system much more than these coddled terrorists could EVER dream of.

    May 20, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. Manny BLUM, Bernalillo

    It is now clear that the campaign promises by OBAMA were based on his lack of experience in this regard, which was used by some of the ultraliberal bunch to mislead him to make such offerings.

    Now he nows better, and fortunately he is intelligent enough to reverse his position, as for the Bush administration witch hunt, military tribunals etc.

    As for the closing of Guantamano, he obviously agreed with his Senate friends that they will kill this measure as a service for him!

    May 20, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. Nil

    Stop the BS. Guantanamo is not the problem. Eliminate the guilty administrators for lack of supervision and the soldiers that abused their power. Let the prisoners enjoy the beautiful beach, the view, FEED THEM fish and lobsters to improve their mind and send the pictures over the internet. THIS IS THE WAY OBAMA TREAT THEM!

    May 20, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Tim

    90-6, and Reid said that no terrorists will ever be housed in a US prison. You all need to remember his words. Either he will go back on them and allow Obama to put us at risk, or Obama will go back on his pledge to close Gitmo.

    I have a perfect solution for Obama. Set up a tent city in Cuba, temporarily move the terrorists to that tent city, close Gitmo, reopen Gitmo the next day but call it Machismo, then move the terrorists back in. Then Obama can claim that he closed Gitmo, and the democrats in congress can claim they stood up for protecting US citizens. Problem solved. If you need any other advice, just let me know.

    May 20, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. John in Northern NY

    Send the detainees to Crawford Texas something good will happen.

    May 20, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Bev - NYC

    Guess Mr. Cheney et al didn't have a plan for these people either, just like Iraq. Why not release them to Mr. Cheney's compound, or deport them to the country or countries we kidnapped or renditioned them from. If they weren't terrorist before being our guest they sure are now. Outfit the with GPS ankle braclets and let the country of origin figure it out.

    May 20, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Obama Victim

    wait a minute...........common sense in the Senate...who would have thought?? turn around Obummer,,,,let me help you pull that knife out of your back

    May 20, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. Mike H.

    If the U.S. Senate opposes transferring these terrorists to the US because of security concerns, how can we expect third countries to accept them? Yet many of those same Senators expect other countries to do what we refuse to do. The answer is to keep Guantanamo Bay open. Obama should realize his mistake and announce a change in policy.

    Once again, what sounded good in appeasing the Democrat Party's base in the election campaign, makes no sense in reality.

    May 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Dan, TX

    Either execute them or let them go.

    May 20, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Tc

    Obama is an IDIOT for even closing Guantanamo ...He has so many irons in the fire and can't solve or has a solution for any... He is a disgrace to America.. If he feels so bad for them let them come and live with him and his family at the white house.....

    May 20, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. Jon in CA

    I hope we see HUGE protests from liberals... cries of "Warmonger", Code Pink to begin stalking this Administration, and Cindy Sheehan camping out demanding to speak with the President!!

    Oh – it's the Democrats calling the shots? OOPS cancel everything!!

    May 20, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |

    Only a "Scare the bejeezus outta them" neocon rethuglican't would even suggest in a public forum that we will release suspected terrorists into the US population when we close Gitmo.

    Anybody that buys into thinking that our government would release Gitmo detainees into the population has to be an absolute moron – or a rethuglican't. Oh I forgot, scratch them and they are both the same...

    May 20, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Grrrr-awful-o

    Well duh! What were you guys thinking?

    May 20, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. JLS

    Robert Gibbs says that Al Queda uses Gitmo as a recruiting tool. Where's the proof, Robbie??
    Obama jumped the gun on 1/22/09, and now realizes that nobody wants them in their backyard! He's committed to the wacky left, but now is stuck when faced with reality.
    How about shipping them to Nevada and California. Nancy and Harry can find rooms for them.

    May 20, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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