Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., deserves credit for refusing to participate in the fear-mongering over President Obama's decision to transfer Guantanamo detainees to a maximum-security prison in Illinois.
The White House announced this week that as many as 100 detainees at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be moved to a nearly empty penitentiary in rural Thomson, Ill., about 150 miles west of Chicago. The prison was built by the state in 2001, but budget problems prevented it from fully opening.
The president has ordered the federal Bureau of Prisons to buy the prison. Congress will have to amend laws and approve funding before any prisoners are moved to the facility, and the prison's perimeter security would need to be strengthened. But the facility is well equipped to house the detainees.
This would not be the final step in closing Guantanamo. Even with the transfer of 100 detainees, more than 200 would remain at the detention center.
The move also would not address the legal questions surrounding the detainees, some of whom have been held in legal limbo for as long as eight years. Among those who would be transferred to Thomson are prisoners who are ordered to be held indefinitely but cannot be tried. However, administration officials announced Wednesday that they also plan to set up a tribunal courtroom in the facility to hold trials for defendants charged before a military commission.
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