Guantanamo Bay terrorism detainees could be headed to Virginia
BY JAMES GORDON MEEK
NY Daily News
April 13, 2009
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - President Obama hasn't said where he wants to move Guantanamo Bay's terror detainees, but a Virginia jail is making beds just in case.
Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, whose jail houses federal prisoners for Alexandria Federal Court, near Washington, told city residents last week that some of Gitmo's baddest could end up there, the Daily News has learned.
If the government chooses the Alexandria court to try any of the 250 remaining detainees, who include five 9/11 plotters, "the prisoners may be housed at the Alexandria Detention Center," Lawhorne wrote in a letter obtained by The News.
The sheriff added that he has "received no official request to house the Guantanamo Bay prisoners in our detention center."
"The review is still underway and no decisions have been made," said Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller.
The jail is in the congressional district of a Democrat, Rep. James Moran, who has not said he opposes taking prisoners from the U.S. naval base in Cuba. But a powerful local GOP lawmaker, Rep. Frank Wolf, wants to bar Al Qaeda thugs from the lockup.
Government sources, however, told The News that Virginia is a likely venue for a few of the terror trials despite local griping.
Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) has objected to any of the Gitmo goons going on trial in New York City for safety reasons.
Ex-Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, skipper of the destroyer Cole when Al Qaeda bombed it in 2000 and a rising activist pushing to keep Gitmo open, played the fear card on Friday.
"The terrorists coming from Guantanamo Bay represent a ... greater danger for the surrounding community," Lippold said after meeting Alexandria city officials. He noted that hotels and apartments "are less than 200 feet" from the jail.