Moving Guantánamo Prisoners to Super-Max Prison in Colorado: Obama vs. Congress

Friday, October 09, 2015
Supermax prison (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Lock your doors and bar your windows, Coloradans. Unabomber Ted Kaczynski could be on the loose any day now.


That’s what you might think, anyway, if you listened to Colorado’s members of Congress. After the Obama administration began to survey the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, as a possible site to house prisoners now at Guantánamo, there was an immediate uproar, particularly from that state’s Republican members of Congress.


“I remain opposed to any plan to bring Guantánamo terrorists to Colorado,” GOP Sen. Cory Gardner said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “I call on the Obama administration to immediately halt any consideration of this irresponsible idea.”


“It is outrageous and unacceptable for President Obama to waste time and taxpayer dollars on a dangerous fantasy that will go nowhere,” Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican whose district includes the federal prison complex, said in a statement. “The people of Colorado do not want the world’s worst terrorists housed in our own backyard.”


Except that they already have the world’s worst terrorists there. In addition to Kaczynski, Terry Nichols, who conspired with Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is there; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon bomber, is at Florence as he awaits his death sentence; and Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted of conspiring in the September 11 terrorist attacks; attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid; and Ahmed Ghailani, an actual al-Qaeda member who was convicted in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and was previously at Guantánamo, are all at Florence.


And although no one has ever escaped from the facility and it already houses the worst of the worst people who have participated in terror operations against Americans, there are those—including members of Congress who should know better—who believe those now imprisoned at Guantánamo, some of whom have not been convicted of any crimes, have some kind of powers that would allow them to escape from the most secure facility that the United States can devise.


Or it might be that they just want to deny President Obama one of his original goals when he took office—to close the expensive Guantánamo camp, which is a focus of anti-American sentiment around the world.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

U.S. Studies Moving Guantánamo Detainees to Colorado Prison (by Charlie Savage, New York Times)

House Majority Doesn’t Trust Supermax Prison Guards (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Guantánamo Detainees: Kansas Scared, Michigan Says Bring ’em On (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Al-Qaeda Terrorists in U.S. Prisons? They’re Already Here (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Montana Town Asks for Guantánamo Prisoners (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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