Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=147389
Story Retrieval Date: 7/23/2014 1:04:12 PM CST
“We are already a high visibility area,” said Charles Tucker, executive director of the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University. “I don’t think it will create any more problems for the city of Chicago than we have already experienced.”
However, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Northbrook) denounced the proposal to move detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay to the largely vacant Thomson Correctional facility.
Turning the state facility into a federal prison could provide up to 2,000 jobs and up to $1 billion in federal money, according to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. Yet, Kirk said the possible boost to the economy is not worth the risk.
Yet, Democrats and terror experts dismiss that calculation.
Federal prison guidelines allow wardens to restrict visitation when necessary. Thus, these detainees are not likely to have any visitors at all, said terror expert Thomas Mockaitis.
A spokesman for O’Hare airport said it would be premature to comment on the effect of the move on airport security.
“People that fly through O’Hare are under a great deal of scrutiny,” Tucker said.
However, Kirk points to history to back up his claim that visiting terrorists pose a threat. Attica State prisoner El Sayyid Nosair helped orchestrate the 1993 World Trade Center bombing from behind bars, according to Kirk.
While in prison, Nosair was visited by Omar Abdel Rahman, a terrorist responsible for the bombing. Nosair was later tried and convicted for his role in the attack.
About 340 inmates linked to international terrorism are currently behind bars in U.S. federal prisons. Mockaitis said there have been no incidents with these inmates, so we shouldn’t expect any from the Guantanamo detainees.
White House officials said it’s unlikely the Guantanamo facility will close by the administration’s self-imposed January 22 deadline.