Published December 11, 2009
The White House has drafted an order that, if finalized, could be used to send detainees remaining at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a prison in President Obama's home state of Illinois.
The memo, first reported by BigGovernment.com, is addressed to the secretary of defense and is titled, "Directing Certain Actions with Respect to Acquisition and Use of Thomson Correctional Center."
A senior administration official said the document is one of many drafts written to cover the various options for relocating Gitmo detainees, and no decision has been made.
"This is a draft, predecisional document that lawyers at various agencies were drafting in preparation for a potential future announcement about where to house Gitmo detainees," the official told Fox News. "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."
Before Obama can make a decision, he needs to sign an annual appropriations package, including a $1.1 trillion omnibus measure pending in the Senate, which details how the president will inform Congress about transferring detainees to U.S. soil.
Democratic officials in Illinois say the conversion of the near-empty prison in Thomson to a federal penitentiary could pump up to $1 billion into the local economy over four years and generate more than 3,000 jobs.
In a reversal of the not-in-my-backyard approach, many communities have taken to the idea of housing terror detainees stateside. The thirst for prison-centered employment has caused Thomson and several other towns to plead with federal officials to let them become permanent hosts to dozens of alleged killers.