WASHINGTON — The Pentagon notified Congress on Friday that a Defense Department team is making the first of a series of visits to assess what types of facilities are needed to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay if the Obama administration succeeds in getting approval to close the facility, a congressional source told CNN.
The team is at the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and is also expected to visit the naval brig at Charleston, South Carolina, in coming weeks.
The reason for the visits is that “in order to finalize the remaining elements of our proposal to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, site surveys are necessary to further review potential locations for detaining a limited number of individuals in the U.S. and to best assess the costs associated with doing so,” the Pengaton’s notice said.
The source said the Pentagon made clear no decisions had been made and the site visits are aimed at getting a “baseline standard” on costs and requirements of a detention facility to house Gitmo detainees. Congress passed a law that prohibits the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to the United States, and the law would have to be changed in order to implement the proposed plan.
While many of the 116 prisoners will be ultimately transferred to other countries, roughly half will remain in U.S. custody.