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Republicans Raise More Questions About Administration’s Prison Purchase

“This argument they can move Guantánamo detainees in the future there is completely false for the following reason: We’ve signed these treaties with countries around the world, and one of them is you don’t put military prisoners in anything other than a military prison,” Durbin said.

Christina Mulka, a Durbin spokeswoman, said Wednesday, “It is Sen. Durbin’s understanding that the Defense Department and State Department take the position that the Geneva Conventions, as well as the law of war, require enemy combatants to be held in military detention, separated from prisoners who have been convicted of crimes.”

But Wolf and other Republicans question whether the administration is committed to the laws that are on the books or whether, in the future, it may try to circumvent or change them. Wolf noted in a July letter to Holder that the administration “has not rescinded or renounced” executive orders related to the closure of the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, and that one such order includes language allowing transfers from Guantánamo to “another United States detention facility.”

In the same letter, Wolf noted that the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy on May 15 regarding the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill (HR 4310) that opposed congressional language restricting detainee transfers to the United States.

In the statement, the Office of Management and Budget objected to provisions that “unnecessarily renew, supplement, or enhance the restrictions on the transfer of Guantánamo detainees into the United States or a foreign country. The administration continues to strongly oppose these provisions, which intrude upon the executive branch’s ability to carry out its military, national security and foreign relations activities and to determine when and where to prosecute Guantánamo detainees.”

House Republicans have repeatedly questioned the Justice Department’s credibility and the timing of the department’s move to purchase the Thomson prison — coming during a congressional recess, with the House unable to block it — as “too fishy to ignore,” said the House GOP aide.

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