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U.S. eyes Colorado prisons for Guantanamo detainees

By Amy R. Connolly
U.S. eyes Colorado prisons for Guantanamo detainees
A walkway separates the two sides of the abandoned Camp X-Ray detention camp at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on July 23, 2015. Detainees would periodically be taken from their cells and placed on golf carts to be taken to the interview and interrogation buildings. The camp was originally used to hold troublesome refugees in the early 1990s and was repurposed in 2001 to hold detainees in support of the War on Terror. Photo by Ezra Kaplan for UPI

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense said it is considering three Colorado prisons as potential sites to house terrorism suspects detained at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Pentagon plans to send a team to locations in Colorado, including the so-called Supermax or ADX Florence prison, home to some of the country's most notorious criminals including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols. Military officials announced they plan to visit a medium-security federal prison near ADX Florence and a state-run maximum security prison about 10 miles away, the Colorado State Penitentiary.

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The trip is intended to determine if any of the facilities will be suitable to transfer some of the Guantanamo detainees, but it will also help officials understand the potential costs of moving the detainees to similar facilities across the United States.

The idea prompted immediate pushback from Colorado lawmakers, who said federal statute bars bringing the detainees onto United States soil.

RELATED Tsarnaev moves next door to Colorado's Supermax prison

"It is outrageous and unacceptable for President Obama to waste time and taxpayer dollars on a dangerous fantasy that will go nowhere," U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican whose district includes the federal prison complex, said. "The people of Colorado do not want the world's worst terrorists housed in our own backyard and we will not stand for this. I will do everything in my power to resist these unlawful terrorist transfers from taking place."

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Obama has attempted to close the Guantanamo detention center since his first days in office, but has faced political backlash on all sides. In recent months, a Pentagon team visited a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and a Navy brig at Charleston, S.C. There are currently 114 detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

RELATED Boston bomber Tsarnaev arrives at Colorado 'Supermax' complex

RELATED Terror plotter Nichols denied special diet

RELATED Judge: Supermax inmates must have hearings

RELATED Pentagon: Cost of operating Guantanamo in 2013 is $454 million

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