2016 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt asks Trump team to help block Gitmo transfers

Release Date: Nov 15, 2016

TOPEKA – (November 15, 2016) – Three state attorneys general have asked President-elect Donald Trump to take steps to ensure terrorist detainees held at Guantanamo Bay are not transferred to the United States in the final weeks of the Obama administration.

In a letter sent today, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, along with the attorneys general of Colorado and South Carolina, asked the president-elect to “raise this issue personally with President Obama and procure his commitment that the outgoing administration will not seek to close Guantanamo or transfer any current detainees to our homeland.”

Facilities at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Colorado; and South Carolina have been identified a potential sites for any detainees moved from Guantanamo Bay. Citing security concerns, Kansas officials strongly oppose moving detainees to Fort Leavenworth.

“President Obama has been steadfast in his commitment to close Guantanamo in order to fulfill his long-time promise,” the attorneys general wrote to the president-elect. “Until the President has withdrawn his Executive Order, we would be derelict to accept conclusory press reports and assume he will leave office with Guantanamo operational. There remains a very real possibility the President may choose to push beyond his executive authority and move these terrorists to our country.

“As chief legal officers of Colorado, Kansas and South Carolina, we ask you to ensure detainees are not transferred to the United States. … We remain committed to exercising all legal options available to us to stop any effort to transfer detainees to American soil.”

In November 2015, the three state attorneys general wrote to President Obama raising concerns about a potential detainee transfer. They never received a response.

Attorney General Schmidt then lodged a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Defense for documents related to preparations for a possible detainee transfer. When the documents were not produced, he filed a lawsuit to obtain them. The first single-page document produced by the federal administration showed federal authorities had spent money to send teams to the three states to assess the suitability of facilities, despite a federal-law prohibition on expending money to move detainees.

Under the schedule agreed to in the court proceeding, the federal administration was scheduled to provide a second round of documents to Kansas today.

A copy of the attorneys general letter to President-elect Trump is available at http://bit.ly/2fS4Xbz.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.