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Hatch: Gitmo 'nice' compared to Ill. jail

Hatch: Gitmo 'nice' compared to Ill. jail
The exterior of the Thomson Correctional facility in Thomson, Illinois in seen in this photo taken November 17, 2009. The Obama administration is expected to announce the purchase of the facility to house prisoners, including terror suspects, currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. UPI/Frank Polich | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee facility is "nice" compared with an Illinois prison where the White House wants to transfer terror suspects, a senator says.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, speaking Tuesday during a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said plans by the Obama administration to house some Guantanamo detainees at a converted state prison in Thomson, Ill., will result in even harsher conditions for prisoners and won't stop criticisms they are being treated inhumanely, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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"I've been to Guantanamo," Hatch said. "It's pretty nice compared to Illinois -- the place in Illinois where they want to put them. It'd be nice and cold in the winter time and ... all I can say is that I imagine there'll be a hue and a cry that we're not fair by bringing them here."

Hatch said he doubted moving the detainees out of Guantanamo would put an end to a terrorism "recruiting tool."

But Dennis Blair, the U.S. director of national intelligence, told senators the Thomson plan is part of a broader goal to "diminish the emotional and symbolic support that (Guantanamo) gives them in the pool of people they try to recruit in order to come against us."

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