The administration is considering whether to transfer some detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a facility in the United States that would contain courtrooms to hold federal criminal trials and military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects, administration officials said Sunday.
The maximum-security facility would be jointly run by the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, with each assuming responsibility for different sets of inmates. Officials said such a facility could also house prisoners held in indefinite detention and those cleared for release but who have no country willing to accept them. Those convicted in federal court or military commissions could serve their terms there.
Officials said administration planners looking for one site for the facility have focused on the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and a state maximum-security prison in Standish, Mich., that is scheduled to be closed.
An administration official confirmed that the ideas, which were first reported by the Associated Press on Sunday, have been debated by an interagency task force examining detention policy, but stressed that they have not moved beyond that stage.
“This is one of the ideas that’s been floated and come under discussion,” the official said, adding that the task force has not decided whether to recommend such a proposal to department heads or, eventually, to President Obama. The official and others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to speak publicly about the issue.