“This is a draft, predecisional document that lawyers at various agencies were drafting in preparation for a potential future announcement about where to house GTMO detainees,” the administration official said. “Drafts of official documents are often prepared for any and all possibilities, regardless of whether a decision has been made about the policy or if the document will be used.”…
The leaked memo was met with approval by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn, both Democrats, even as they acknowledged that the decision is not yet final.
“As we have said many times, this move will have an enormous impact on our state – potentially generating up to 3,800 jobs and potentially injecting more than $1 billion into the regional economy,” the two said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to dramatically reduce unemployment, create thousands of good-paying jobs and breathe new economic life into this part of downstate Illinois.”
Yes, no doubt the locals will be thrilled, but frankly the location’s a no-brainer: The only politician in America who could force this onto his home state with little fear of a NIMBY backlash is Obama himself. As for why it’s a draft instead of a final order, there’s an explanation for that too. Last month Congress agreed to lift the ban on transporting Gitmo detainees to the United States — but only for those, like KSM, who are here to stand trial. What about those who aren’t?
The White House told Illinois lawmakers last week that the detainees who wind up in the Illinois Gitmo will not be tried in federal courtrooms in Chicago. Rather, the group that may end up at the Thomson Correction Center in northwestern Illinois may never face trial.
No trial, no entry to the United States under current law. Obama’s going to have to get Congress to change that policy before anyone is transferred, but will they do it? Republicans will oppose transfer to the U.S. under any circumstances and progressive Democrats may oppose it in this case because they object to indefinite detention without trial on civil liberties grounds. Ironically, for all his bluster about holding ourselves to a “higher code of conduct,” the fact that his own code isn’t high enough in liberal eyes could create a giant headache for him.