Guantanamo Court Complex Rejected




 
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Boots
 
February 28th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Guantanamo Court Complex Rejected


Los Angeles Times
February 28, 2007
The Defense secretary says the $102-million project proposed by the Pentagon is not needed for detainee trials.
By Peter Spiegel, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates dismissed as "ridiculous" a Pentagon proposal to build a $102-million court complex at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and instead instructed officials to draw up plans for a temporary facility for detainee trials that would be about a tenth of the cost.
The Pentagon had requested the money last year in an emergency funding measure and quietly put out a request for bids for the facility, which was to have included two courtrooms, conference and meeting facilities, and housing for 1,200 people.
But in a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Gates said he nixed the idea shortly after assuming office, saying that he did not believe it was necessary and that it would not pass congressional muster.
"The reason that got changed… is because I said so," Gates said. "I basically said, 'This is ridiculous…. We'll be handed our hat if we go up to the Hill for $100 million for these courthouses.' "
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has led the opposition to funding for the new complex, said the Pentagon originally had wanted the money under special emergency authority, but subsequently had backed down and said the request would be submitted through normal budget procedures.
She told Gates, however, that she "noted with interest" that the Bush administration's new budget, unveiled earlier this month, asked for no such funding. Gates said the request had been pared down to $92 million by the time he saw the budget. But he said he took out the money and would seek a mix of existing and temporary buildings for the trials, expected to begin in July.
"We're trying to provide facilities not only for the trials themselves, but living conditions for the press and for the clerks and the various others associated with trials going on," Gates said. "But we're looking at a number that is a tenth of what we were originally contemplating."
 


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