WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe along with three other Republican senators plan to visit the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay on Monday. Inhofe said it would be a fact-finding trip.
Inhofe, R-Tulsa, will be traveling with Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas, David Vitter of Louisiana and Mel Martinez of Florida. They will make the trip on a military plane to the prison in Cuba that is holding 245 "enemy combatants” captured in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries since 2001. Inhofe said he was compelled to take the trip after President Barack Obama signed an executive order aimed at closing the prison at a U.S. Naval station in Cuba within a year. "I’ve always looked at (the prison) as being a real valuable asset,” Inhofe said during an interview on Thursday.
No solution for detaineesInhofe said he doesn’t want the prison to close and that his visit would allow him to "speak with authority” about the need for the facility. Inhofe said he doesn’t "have a solution to what we’re going to ultimately do” with the prisoners deemed most dangerous. "I’m not addressing that problem,” he said. In a statement, Inhofe said Obama’s order "failed to take into consideration the implications of closing (the prison) — what happens to current detainees, what the military will do with detainees held in other military prisons around the world and what judicial process is going to be used.” In reality, Obama’s order called for "a comprehensive interagency review.” The review ordered by Obama would be headed by the attorney general and include the participation of the secretaries of Defense, State and Homeland Security, the director of National Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The officials have been told to determine whether the detainees could be transferred, released or prosecuted. Since Obama signed the order, Oklahoma lawmakers have expressed fear that prisoners may be sent to federal correctional facilities.