National Security

US Considering Colorado Prisons for Guantanamo Bay Detainees

bin Laden
The entrance to Camp 5 and Camp 6 at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay detention center / AP

Pentagon officials will visit state and federal prisons located in Colorado to weigh whether they could be used to jail Guantanamo Bay detainees as President Obama continues to push to close the military prison in Cuba.

According to the Associated Press, a Defense Department team will visit both the Colorado State Penitentiary located in Canon City and the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative-Maximum Facility in Florence in the coming two weeks, anonymous senior officials said.

The Pentagon has also considered the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as well as the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, as possible locations for the detainees.

The Defense Department is particularly evaluating the cost of construction and other changes to the facilities that would be necessary to properly house the prisoners and perform military commission trials.

In order for Obama to fulfill his longtime goal of shuttering the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Pentagon will need to determine countries that can take remaining prisoners and ensure that they will be properly monitored so as not to threaten national security.

There are 114 remaining prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, more than half of which have been labeled too dangerous to release. Last week, the Defense Department said that it had released prisoner Abdul Shalabi, believed to have once served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard, to Saudi Arabia.

A government review board deemed it unnecessary to continue to jail Shalabi at the military prison but admitted in a statement that he "probably continues to sympathize with extremists."

The previous week, the U.S. released Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri, who had been detained at the facility in Cuba for over 13 years, to Morocco.