by Chris Bodenner
Specifically, Elise Cooper, who just blogged a dreadful post called "No Terrorists In My Backyard." I normally wouldn't fisk an opinion piece on the Gitmo transfer, but Cooper purports to have real reporting: "NewMajority has interviewed 9/11 families, security experts and members of Congress. All agree: Not here." However, of the six sources she quotes, six are Republicans. And they include prominent figures such as Cantor and Chertoff, so casual readers might get the impression that the piece is relevant journalism. In reality, it reads like a cobbled-together press release.
Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) pointed out to NewMajority that a similar facility to Pendleton in Mirimar [sic], CA, held illegal detainees which turned into an absolute disaster. A riot broke out and the facility had to be locked down.
A prison on lockdown?! Oh nos!
I just spent the last 15 minutes trying to find details about the cataclysmic riot she's referring to, but I came up empty. And what exactly are "illegal detainees"? Were they detained illegally? Is Cooper implying that the military broke the law? (Or simply that Marines at Pendleton can't handle a bunch of shackled, shell-shocked prisoners from a Navy base called Gitmo?)
Bob and Shirley Hemenway who live in Kansas and lost their son at the Pentagon on 9/11 were concerned that Americans do not understand the ramifications of bringing the terrorists to American territory. They pointed out that Leavenworth is not a maximum security prison and logistically it is unsafe because it is surrounded by an airport, military housing, and a lake.
Maybe something has changed since I visited Fort Leavenworth two weeks ago, but that "lake" looks a lot like the Missouri River. And I take "military housing" to mean a "US Army base housing the 705th MP Battalion, an elite detention unit that trained guards at Gitmo." Also, the prison has about a mile of forest separating it from military housing. In fact, the fort's old prison - which housed serial killers and rapists as recently as 2002 - was literally in the backyard of my brother's middle-school girlfriend's house, 50 feet from her back door. But, to the most painful part of Cooper's paragraph: the USDB does have a maximum-security unit - it's famous for being the only prison in the US military to have one.