Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wire: Senate Democrats Duplicitous on Detainee Transfers to US

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2009 -- Newswire services reported this morning that some Senate Democrats are willing to permit transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to prisons in the United States despite their vote to the contrary.

Most notably among them is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who spent the week sending out confusing signals on just where he stood, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

"We are wanting and willing to work with" the president to come up with a solution to the detainee issue, the Nevada Democrat said Thursday. It is a statement that leaves open the possibility that detainees would be incarcerated in U.S. prisons.

Only two days earlier, Reid had told reporters he opposed the release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S. On Wednesday, he joined 89 other lawmakers in both parties who voted to prohibit their transfer.

The 90-6 vote also denied Obama the funds he requested to close the detention center in Cuba, AP noted.

Within 24 hours of the Senate vote, Obama made it clear he intends for some of the detainees to be incarcerated in the U.S. "Where demanded by justice and national security, we will seek to transfer some detainees to the same type of facilities in which we hold all manner of dangerous and violent criminals within our borders -- namely highly secure prisons that ensure the public safety."

In addition to Reid, other Democrats who voted to ban the transfer of detainees to the United States said after Obama's speech, said they are willing to consider the plan the president eventually presents.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Senate vote not last word on Guantanamo

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