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McKeon blasts $500 million price tag for new terrorist detention prison

Posted: December 17, 2009 1:33 p.m.
Updated: December 17, 2009 4:25 p.m.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.) today criticized the Obama Administration's handling of the vital national security issues of closing Guantanamo Bay and transferring some of the terrorists held at the Cuban detention center to the United States.

Following a classified briefing on the Administration's decision to purchase a detention facility located outside of Chicago, Illinois, to house terrorists currently held at Guantanamo, McKeon challenged the Administration to reveal the analysis to justify its decision.

McKeon released the following statement following the briefing:

"Today's briefing revealed several troubling factors about the President's decision to throw caution to the wind and move dangerous terrorists to the Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois.

"Most troubling is the fact that the intelligence community has not conducted a thorough risk assessment of using the Thomson facility. This is especially problematic when you consider Thomson's close proximity to Chicago and the Mississippi River.

"If the Obama Administration didn't have a comprehensive intelligence assessment, how can it so confidently assure the American public that there is no additional threat to our communities?

"One of the primary points the Administration uses to justify its decision to close the Guantanamo facility is that it denies al-Qaeda a recruiting tool.

"However, we do not know if the intelligence community has done an assessment as to whether al-Qaeda will now use the Thomson facility as a recruiting tool. Are we simply making ourselves feel better by changing the name to a recurring problem?

"Finally, the Administration acknowledged today that it will need to come to Congress for an estimated half a billion dollars in funding, in addition to authorization language, to carry out its already-announced plan.

"I'm skeptical that the Administration will find a receptive audience on either side of the aisle in the House to help carry out this ill-conceived decision."

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