Kansas Sues USA for|Info on Gitmo Transfers

     TOPEKA, Kan. (CN) — Kansas sued the Department of Defense for information on what it calls an “unlawful plan” to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo to the U.S. mainland.
     Attorney General Derek Schmidt sued the Pentagon in Federal Court on Friday, demanding “records containing important information regarding the President’s unlawful plan to transfer detainees held by the defendant at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (‘Guantanamo detainees’) to the U.S. mainland. Kansas was one of three publicly identified possible locations for the President’s planned unlawful transfer.”
     In addition to the federal prison at Leavenworth, prisons in Colorado and South Carolina are also being considered in the Obama administration’s long-delayed effort to close the prison at Guantanamo.
     Kansas submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Pentagon in December 2015, seeking documents on federal funding for surveying potential sites. After Kansas agreed to narrow the scope of its request, Pentagon said it would have the requested materials ready by April 15, but it has not released them, Kansas says, though it acknowledged that it has compiled a document with the information Kansas seeks.
     “The defendant has yet to provide that document (or any other document within the scope of the request) to Kansas,” the lawsuit states. “The defendant has not even given a firm date for making the document (which defendant has admitted is already compiled and exists) available to Kansas, and has left open the option of substantially delaying its response, which would undermine the usefulness of the information Kansas seeks.”
     Obama signed an executive order on his second day in office, Jan. 21, 2009, seeking to close Guantánamo, but relocating the prisoners from the naval prison has proven to be a challenge.
     Several months after the executive order, Congress passed legislation that prevented the detainees from being moved and blocked federal funding to close the prison. Obama has since signed memoranda keeping the base open and allowing military trials to continue.
     The National Defense Authorization Acts for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 bar the use of federal funds for the purposes of transferring detainees to the U.S. mainland or building facilities where they could be housed.
     “The Obama administration now claims it will not transfer detainees to the mainland, but we want to verify this claim because it appears the administration previously violated a federal ban on even preparing for such a transfer,” Schmidt said in a statement. “We are seeking some court-ordered sunshine now to discourage mischief later in the final weeks before the president leaves office.”
     Defense Department spokeswoman Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson said: “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on matters in litigation.”

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