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Senate Votes Down Inhofe Amendment to Block Transfer of Gitmo Detainees

The Senate this afternoon defeated an amendment to an appropriations bill proposed by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) that would have prevented the Pentagon from using funds to adapt or build any new facilities in the United States to house Guantanamo detainees. That would have included anyone charged, tried or convicted in a U.S. federal court. The Senate voted 57 – 43 to table the amendment, thereby defeating it.

Had it passed, the amendment could have thrown a big wrench into the plans of Attorney General Eric Holder, who last week announced he would transfer the alleged 9/11 co-conspirators to New York to be tried in federal court. It’s unclear whether any existing facilities would need to be modified to accommodate them, however, given that the Southern District of New York, where the trial will take place, has for many years tried international terror suspects.

But in addition to the New York trials, the administration is also considering transferring some Guantanamo detainees to underutilized prisons in Illinois and Michigan. Those facilities would likely need to be modified to accommodate high-level international terror suspects.

The defeated bill was proposed as an amendment to the Military Construction, Veterans’ Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010.

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