Dan Gilmore / Dec. 2, 2015

The Cost to Close Gitmo Grows for Obama

This is just the Pentagon’s initial estimate.

Not only does Barack Obama face political and legal hurdles in closing Guantanamo Bay, he faces a financial one as well. The Obama administration rejected the Pentagon’s estimate of how much it would cost to move 59 detainees onto U.S. soil, saying its estimate of $600 million to build a facility and operate it is too high. The remainder of the 107 detainees still at Gitmo would be transferred to other countries. Last week, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the $400 million the U.S. currently spends to run the detention facility at its Cuban base is a waste of money. “It’s certainly not an efficient or effective use of taxpayer dollars when you consider the alternatives that are available,” Earnest said, “which is to transfer to other countries those individuals that can be safely transferred, and to otherwise dispense with those who can be prosecuted, put them through our criminal justice system, and to safely detain those individuals who cannot be transferred.” Remember, this is just the Pentagon’s initial estimate. Projects go over budget. Cutting costs would endanger national security. It’s just another reason for Obama to abandon this 2008 campaign promise, though he can always just effectively close the prison by releasing five jihadis at a time.

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