Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 4, 2009

PAT ROBERTS THREATENS TO 'SHUT DOWN THE SENATE'.... The Washington Post reported yesterday the Obama administration is at least considering a new plan on transferring Gitmo detainees. The proposal involves transferring detainees to a facility -- run by the departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security -- that would "contain courtrooms to hold federal criminal trials and military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects."

And where might this facility be? "Officials said administration planners looking for one site for the facility have focused on the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and a state maximum-security prison in Standish, Mich., that is scheduled to be closed."

Sen. Pat Roberts (R) isn't happy about the possibility.

Roberts heatedly pledged to prevent detainees currently housed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to be relocated to a prison facility in his home state.

"I've said it once. I'll say it many more times: Not in my back yard. Not in Kansas," Roberts said in a press conference with Kansas reporters. "I will shut down the Senate before I'll let that happen."

Roberts added that housing Gitmo detainees in a maximum-security facility would make Americans "less safe." He didn't say why, probably because he doesn't know.

It's likely that Roberts doesn't remember some of the details that emerged in the Spring, so here's a reminder: we already have plenty of international terrorists on U.S. soil and in U.S. facilities -- including the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

[T]he apocalyptic rhetoric rarely addresses this: Thirty-three international terrorists, many with ties to al-Qaeda, reside in a single federal prison in Florence, Colo., with little public notice.

Detained in the supermax facility in Colorado are Ramzi Yousef, who headed the group that carried out the first bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993; Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted of conspiring in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; Ahmed Ressam, of the Dec. 31, 1999, Los Angeles airport millennium attack plots; Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, conspirator in several plots, including one to assassinate President George W. Bush; and Wadih el-Hage, convicted of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.

Inmates in Florence and those at the maximum-security disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., rarely see other prisoners. At Leavenworth, the toughest prisoners are allowed outside their cells only one hour a day when they are moved with their legs shackled and accompanied by three guards.

Why hasn't Roberts tried to remove these terrorists from Leavenworth? For that matter, why hasn't he tried to shut down the Senate over this before?

Steve Benen 1:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Why? Because there are no consequences to lying, etc.

Posted by: Go, Sestak on August 4, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not quite sure Pat Roberts could ever do this. Even with the power (haha, yeah, as if), the furore would be overwhelming.

Posted by: octacular musteline on August 4, 2009 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

shut down the clown car united states senate?

oh noes!!1!

camphor, camphor...

Posted by: neill on August 4, 2009 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Please give the Democrats a face to use against the Republicans...please, please, please...

Because, you know, shutting down the government in a hissy fit against the White House worked so well for Gingrich & Co.

Posted by: TonyB on August 4, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Granted, I'm a Missouri resident (KC), but Fort Leavenworth is not far from me. I think I have more faith in the competence of the military at Fort Leavenworth than he does. Having them there wouldn't cause me to lose any sleep.

And on the non-existent chance one or more made an escape, exactly where would they go? They'd be stuck in the middle of the continent. There aren't even any mountains to disappear into here!

Posted by: Missouri Mule on August 4, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Assuming that he knows what goes on in his home state would be giving him way to much credit. He just collects his paycheck and follows orders as they come in. And he's not paid to think. Or even pay attention.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on August 4, 2009 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

What a F'in coward. He's willing to send men to risk their lives in Iraq, but he isn't willing to do his part here at home.

Posted by: DR on August 4, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

If Leavenworth is unsafe, let's shut it down. Do you think Roberts would object to moving those jobs out of Kansas?

Posted by: skitso on August 4, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK
He didn't say why, probably because he doesn't know.

He can't say why, though he knows: because such claims tested well with focus groups.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 4, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I am just so tired of Republican grandstanding about issues that are transparently ridiculous.

Will it ever not be thus?

Posted by: terraformer on August 4, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I second what DR wrote: looks like a coward, talks like a coward, smells like a coward...

Posted by: MC on August 4, 2009 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

time to move Fort Leavenworth to Michigan

Posted by: Jamie on August 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Having followed the link to the WaPo story, I don't read it as confirming that the hardcases in Leavenworth include "international terrorists." Nonetheless, Roberts' (and Baucus's) fear-whinnies in that story are real spectacles of machismo, um-hmm.

Posted by: lotus on August 4, 2009 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

God is this guy a joke. Who does he think these detainees are the evil x-men? Just how would they be a danger to anyone. Even if every last one of them escaped what exactly would they do run around rape pillaging and plundering like a Mongol horde. Or maybe they would take over the closest military base and wreck everything for miles in every direction. Can it get any stupider.

Posted by: Gandalf on August 4, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if Roberts knows if there are terrorists locked up in Leavenworth, but I know Roberts knows that his voters don't know there are terrorists locked up in Leavenworth.

Posted by: Doctor Whom on August 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

3rd what DR wrote.

Foot stomping attention whore.

Posted by: Kevin on August 4, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Why, exactly, does Fort Leavenworth exist if not to hold dangerous prisoners?

Posted by: KTinOhio on August 4, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Go, Sestak is spot-on. Steve B. is so neutral he posts with the assumption of honesty given to Robertson. Robertson is appealing to the ignorant Republican Rubes (RRs), people who will swallow his lies & pay money for more.
Remember, there are people so politically stunted that they send money in after receiving "push-poll" mailings. With questions like "Do you support Obama's agenda of socialism, or do you believe in American Democracy?" an average person would laugh, but the RRs reach for their credit cards.
My 85 year old Mom gets these on a regular basis, and we get a good laugh at what obviously works on the Rubes. Got to laugh, or we'd weep for America.

Posted by: BuzzMon on August 4, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

"He didn't say why, probably because he doesn't know."

Why? Because government-run prisons can't work! Before the executive branch of government isn't privatized nobody should trust a prison anymore.

Posted by: Vokoban on August 4, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Roberts is one to something. I mean if we housed these guys on US soil we'd be opening ourselves up to an attack from TRUSH. Or worse KAOS. Maybe even Spectre or Hydra or AIM. Who knows what nefarious organization might come after us.

Besides these terrorists possess extraordinary powers. They can leap over fences is a single bound. Deflect bullets. Toss aside tanks.

Posted by: thorin-1 on August 4, 2009 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Send them to NJ, we will take the Fed money!!!!

Posted by: JoyZeeBoy on August 4, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

"I've said it once. I'll say it many more times: Not in my back yard. Not in Kansas," Roberts said in a press conference with Kansas reporters. "I will shut down the Senate before I'll let that happen."

Why not just have Senator Franken introduce a motion to shut down the federal prison at Leavenworth (and thereby sucking all those jobs out of the Kansas economy) and relocating it to, say, Minnesota? Then Roberts can simultaneously campaign to keep one prison out of his state while keeping another one in.

Posted by: Stefan on August 4, 2009 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Stephan, I love your idea, but I have another one:
Leavenworth is very close to the Missouri border. I think it would easier if Kansas just gave Leavenworth to Missouri. A quick, painless border adjustment and Pat's problem is gone. Poof! And Missouri gets the jobs.

Posted by: Missouri Mule on August 4, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Roberts and Enzi -- two strutting embodiments of overweening arrogance.

Posted by: stinger on August 4, 2009 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever state gets this will see all kinds of business from visiting attorneys, journos, etc.

Posted by: AlphaLiberal on August 4, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

You know, if Dems made these complaints, all we'd hear from the right is how Dems have no faith in our military, our jailers, etc., and how unAmerican that is.

I mean, unlike when the GOP does most things, this is actually true: They obviously don't trust our prison system and think those who work at our prisons are incompetent. (There really isn't another explanation.)

Is there a reason Dems don't try this strategy?

Posted by: Mark D on August 4, 2009 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans gave us Gitmo. The Republicans deserve to have them in "their own back yard.

Posted by: MLJohnston on August 4, 2009 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

The last time this bubbled to the surface, someone pointed out that the place where the real badass terorists are tried is the International Court of Justice in the Hague, in the Netherlands, where all they do is smoke dope and don't let their citizes pack.

Why are the Dutch so much tougher than we are?

Posted by: Rod Hoffman on August 4, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Roberts is being disingeuous, as is any Republican that has a problem with closing Gitmo. He isn't really afraid that terrorists will chew their way through the bars, but (rightly) sees the closing of Gitmo as a rebuke to the people who set up that jurisdictional no man's land, as well as to people who, like himself, supported it.

Posted by: kth on August 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

If that pussy from Kansas is afraid of a few terrorists, just send them to my home state of Colorado. We know how to handle them.

Posted by: plyodd on August 4, 2009 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Listen, the town leaders of Hardin Montana want to take on the Gitmo detainees! See http://americancityandcounty.com/pubsafe/homeland_security/government_jail_house_gitmo/. Let them do it, please, or at least make an issue over them wanting to, to embarrass people like Pat Roberts. We don't need him anyway, or Kansas, for housing Gitmo detainees. (And of course he does it to grandstand, to get What's-the-matter-withers' votes.)

Posted by: Neil B ♣ on August 4, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Shutting down the Senate - sounds like something Jesus would do. Roberts' ego is so huge, it's a wonder his head fits through doorways. That said, cults are personality driven. Even Jim Jones had followers and he passed out koolaide, literally.

Posted by: Always Hopeful on August 4, 2009 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

The folks in Standish are afraid they WON'T get the terrorists. Otherwise the max prison there will close on schedule.

As for the new intake, after years of violent cons from the I-75 corridor from Detroit to Saginaw, and Aryan meth bikers from the rest of Michigan, the guards aren't exactly quaking in fear.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 4, 2009 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK
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