Gov. Hickenlooper opposes GITMO terrorist transfers to CO
DENVER—Gov. John Hickenlooper has reversed his stance on transferring GITMO terrorists to Colorado. According to The Denver Post, Hickenlooper said, “The reports we’ve gotten over the last couple months is the people are fairly united — they don’t want to take that risk. I respect that.”
Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:
“Gov. Hickenlooper just proved that opposing GITMO terrorist transfers to Colorado is not a partisan issue, defying months of media and partisan claims that only Republicans opposed the president’s plan. We applaud Hickenlooper’s evolution on this serious issue and look forward to the conversation it brings about nationally on whether we should really be transferring terrorists to our backyards. Safety is not a partisan issue and the governor was right to stand up to Obama.”
Months ago, when the Pentagon first scouted the possible transfer locations, The Denver Postreported Hickenlooper’s office said he was still assessing “the costs, risk and impacts for Colorado.”
The Colorado locations reviewed by the Pentagon for President Obama’s planned transfer included the Federal Correctional Complex, which includes the supermax in Florence; and the Colorado State Penitentiary II in Cañon City. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., has led the opposition to the president’s plan, and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., has been on every side of the issue after voting for the transfers.
A group of over 40 elected Colorado county sheriffs sent a letter to Bennet, President Obama and other members of Colorado’s congressional delegation opposing the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Colorado.
Recently, a CNN/ORC survey indicated a majority of Americans oppose closing GITMO. 56 percent think the detention center should continue operating, whereas 40 percent believe the center should be closed. The survey also indicated that most Americans are not concerned with Cuba being the site of the center despite its history with the U.S. Only 7 percent consider the island a “very serious threat.”
Bennet has switched his position back and forth following the political and constituent backlash toward the terrorist relocation plan. Concern is growing across Colorado and the Colorado Springs Gazette’s editorial board penned a piece slamming the transfer as well.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Bennet voted against an amendment in November 2013 that would have “prohibited moving any detainee to the United States for one year.” He also voted against similar amendments in 2012 and 2009, which would have blocked funding toward transferring prisoners at Gitmo.
In May 2009, Bennet “voiced support for withholding funding used to transfer detainees to a Supermax prison in Colorado,” but voted “to table an amendment that November that would have done so.”