A senior Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday warned against sending detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas, saying it could endanger U.S. relations with Muslim countries.
It was also another thorn in President Barack Obama’s effort to quickly close the controversial U.S. prison in Cuba.
Representative Ike Skelton, chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, acknowledged the difficulties the Obama administration was having finding a place to move the detainees, but in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates he raised two problems with sending them to Kansas.
In addition to Fort Leavenworth housing a maximum security military prison, the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College is also located at the military installation which is meant to serve as a graduate school of sorts for military officers, including from abroad.
“I have strong indications that, if detainees from Guantanamo were to be transferred to Fort Leavenworth, a number of Muslim countries would decline to continue to send their students,” Skelton said in the letter. “This would have a very negative outcome for our military officers, the school, and the health of our relationships with Muslim nations.”