Senate votes to prohibit Guantanamo detainee transfers to US

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Protesters seeking the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility wear orange jumpsuits and black head masks as they demonstrate outside the White House

 

WASHINGTON D.C. – The Senate late Thursday night approved a Republican amendment that would prohibit the transfer of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) to U.S. prisons.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) introduced amendment 3245, which would prevent the Department of Defense from using funds to move suspected terrorists from Gitmo facilities to prisons within the United States.

Ayotte said Thursday that she feared that those presumed terrorists would seek legal rights in U.S. courts. She added that the Gitmo facility is far more secure since it’s protected by the military.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she opposed the amendment, which passed on a 54-41 vote, because there are already more than 100 terrorists being securely held in federal prisons today.

“This is what our federal prisons do and they do it well,” Feinstein said before the vote.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) questioned why Feinstein and others opposing the amendment would want to bring suspected terrorists to the United States during a time of war.

“We don’t want these crazy bastards brought here to the United States,” Graham said. “They want to steal your way of life, not steal your car.

“Have you lost your mind?”

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) called the amendment “veto bait” because President Obama said he’d veto the defense bill if it included this provision. One of President Obama’s campaign promises in 2008 was to close down the Gitmo facility, which requires moving those being detained.

Democratic Sens. Jim Webb (Va.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) voted with Republicans for the amendment.

The Senate is schedule to continue amendment work on the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 3254, Thursday night, with hopes of finishing work by the end of the week. The defense bill funds U.S. military operation.