Lawmakers Campaign Against Gitmo Detainees in Their Backyard

With President Obama's plan to close Guantanamo Bay still in its infancy, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are feuding over whether to house the detainees within their state borders, with Colorado one of the emerging battlegrounds.

Colorado Gov. Bill Bitter touched off a firestorm after his spokesman told a reporter the governor is open to housing detainees at the maximum security prison known as Supermax in Florence, Colo.

That prompted Colorado lawmakers to petition the governor with a slew of concerns and start drafting legislation to complicate any effort to select Supermax.

"This really is about a stream of terrorists who will be entering the United States on American soil as a result of the closure of Guantanamo Bay," said Republican state Rep. Cory Gardner. "And remember, when people are located in a facility, that facility becomes a target."

Gardner said no state should be "rolling out the red carpet" for these detainees.

But of the 245 detainees, those who are not sent back to their home countries or elsewhere will probably have to stand trial in the United States and be incarcerated if convicted.

A spokesman for Ritter said recently that "there's no reason to take a 'not in my backyard' approach" to Supermax since it was built for high-risk inmates.

Indeed, the prison already holds Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui; Ramzi Youself, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center attack; and Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols.

"We already have several terrorists that are housed there," said U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., calling "ridiculous" the outcry over moving detainees to Supermax. "We need to look at where we can best hold them, in a facility that they are not able to escape from."

Ken Gude, a national security analyst at the Center for American Progress, said Supermax is the "most maximum security prison we've got" and ideal for housing detainees who have nowhere else to go.

"A highly secure prison ... is a very unlikely place for a terrorist to escape from, and it is also a very unlikely terrorist target. It's very hard to get at," he said. "While you can never say the risk is zero -- that's silly -- any additional risk does seem to be pretty low."

Gude published a recent report on closing Guantanamo suggesting Supermax or the military detention facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., house those detainees who are convicted in the United States.

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., has said a military facility would be more appropriate than his state's high-security prison.

But Kansas officials have lined up against housing detainees in their state too. U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., introduced a bill to prevent federal funds from being used to move the suspected terrorists to her district in Kansas.

"I think it would have been much better to come up with a plan before we put a timeline on this because obviously by the end of the year we might not have the plan in place," she said. "But once again, I'm positive that Fort Leavenworth is not the appropriate place for these detainees."

Justice Department representatives say the final decision will come after a lengthy review process that has only just begun.

Not all local officials are opposed to housing detainees. U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., told FOX News recently he'd be willing to keep them in his district if need be. Asked about the idea, several local officials in southwestern Pennsylvania even said a new prison for Guantanamo detainees could actually be a job-creation opportunity.

FOX News' Alicia Acuna and The Associated Press contributed to this report.