Prison in Illinois May Replace Gitmo

Thompson site is top contender, but local congressmen are opposed
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2009 2:04 PM CST
Detainees at Gitmo, in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
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(Newser) – The leading contender to take Guantanamo Bay's prisoners when it shuts down is a federal prison in Illinois, sources tell the Chicago Tribune. The near-empty facility in the small town of Thompson, about 150 miles west of Chicago, would take an unspecified but "limited" number of Gitmo's remaining 215 or so terror suspects. Town residents like the idea of pumping jobs and money into the economy, but local congressmen are incensed.

"If your administration brings al-Qaeda terrorists to Illinois, our state and the Chicago Metropolitan Area will become ground zero for Jihadist terrorist plots," Republican Mark Kirk told the White House in a letter. Added a spokesman for Republican Donald Manzullo: "It's a matter of national security and public safety." The US is hoping to shut Gitmo in January, a goal that seems harder to reach by the day.