Apparently Robert Gibbs wasn’t playing. After the House Armed Services Committee expressly forbade the Defense Department from spending any money to purchase the Thomson Corrections Center in Illinois, the linchpin of President Obama’s pledge to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, the White House press secretary said the administration could still authorize the Justice Department to buy the estimated $350 million prison from the state of Illinois. And that appears to be in play.
Christi Parsons reports for the Chicago Tribune:
Writing to members of the Illinois delegation in Congress, Asst. Atty. Gen. Ronald Weich reaffirmed the administration’s “commitment to acquiring the facility this year,” and provided details about steps planned for the next few months.
The Justice Department’s Bureau of Prisons plans to hire and train employees while other administration officials “work with Congress to obtain authorization and funding for a portion of the Thomson facility,” Weich wrote in the letter, obtained by the Tribune Washington bureau.
No timetable for the purchase, though. Will Obama punt on this until after the midterm elections?