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Pentagon studies transfer of Guantanamo inmates to US sites

File photo of detainees sitting in a holding area at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay

Washington: The Pentagon said today it is studying the cost of moving inmates from Guantanamo to military jails in South Carolina and Kansas, as the White House seeks to close the controversial facility.

President Barack Obama made shuttering the Cuba-based prison a priority when he took office in 2009, but Congress has opposed measures to transfer detainees to the US mainland.

The White House is currently putting finishing touches on a new plan to close Guantanamo, which will be presented to lawmakers for review.

The military prisons in focus are at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and the Navy Brig in Charleston, South Carolina.

“We did have a team last week that visited Fort Leavenworth to conduct some very preliminary cost assessment for what it would cost to put detainees there,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis.

The team will be in Charleston next week, Davis said, adding it is also expected to visit some non-Department of Defense sites.

Guantanamo opened in January 2002 on the heels of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and on the Pentagon in Washington.

After reaching a peak of 680 war on terror detainees in 2003, there are 116 detainees remaining.