CONCERNS ABOUT PRISIONERS
Lawmakers and others at the hearing expressed skepticism that moving detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Illinois would appease jihadists.
During the hearing, federal officials acknowledged that in addition to housing prisoners, the correctional center could become the site of military trials, including a trial for the planners of the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. They also said that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others who are set to go on trial in New York for the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center could be sent to Thomson if convicted.
QUESTIONS ABOUT COST
While most of the speakers at the December 22 hearing focused on safety concerns, there are also significant cost questions that need to be answered. Neither Governor Pat Quinn nor the Obama Administration has announced a sales price, saying that appraisals must be done first.
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno released figures the week before the hearing showing that Illinois taxpayers would lose out unless the state receives at least $250 million for the facility.
VOTE TO COME IN JANUARY
Members of COGFA did not vote December 22 on the transfer – that vote is expected to take place in January.
The Commission cannot prevent the sale, but only cast an advisory vote. Governor Quinn could move ahead with the sale, even if the Commission votes against it.
On behalf of my family and the staff at my legislative offices, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!