A Guantanamo Bay Version 2.0 may be in the works.
A Democratic representative is developing a unique proposal that attempts to strike a middle path in the debate as to whether the U.S. should permanently close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay next year or keep it open indefinitely.
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said Thursday that he is open to keeping a more transparent Guantanamo facility, complete with more aggressive third party monitors, open beyond the White House January 2010 closure deadline to hold the most dangerous inmates.
"If we have transparency and accountability, than you can leave Gitmo just like it is," he said. "The physical plant of Guantanamo is built to hold people. And therefore I argue and will pursue the administration to give a look at legislation that I am developing that will give transparency and accountability and may satisfy our allies as well," Hastings said, noting that he would enable groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Red Cross to have better access to monitor the facility.
Hastings has yet to seriously discuss the proposal with the White House but asserts that it could be a viable solution given that the new Gitmo comes with a guarantee of no torture.
Hastings, a former U.S. District Court judge, cited a problematic prison he once ordered closed, renovated and eventually reopened.
"I went in-same facility-we just changed what was going on inside and therefore the perception changed," he said, when asked about President Obama's assertion Guantanamo poses a international perception problem for the nation.
Given that Obama has vowed that no torture will take place at the facility, Hastings said Obama will be able to declare that "the new Guantanamo is open."
He said that his plan could proceed once the administration's review of the 241 detainees concludes and the president determines which suspects to put on trial, deport or move to prisons in the U.S. Hastings estimates the new Guantanamo will have to accommodate about 30 of the ultra-dangerous detainees.
"So you try the ones you can and the ones that ultimately cannot be handled at all-where are you gonna put them?" Hastings asked.
He said that he doesn't see another short-term solution to the "political brouhaha, not in my backyard" problem the White House faces on Capitol Hill where numerous Democrats have joined with Republicans to say no to housing Gitmo detainees in their states and districts.