The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or

Secretary Gates Hints at Establishing Indefinite Detention on U.S. Soil

Transfer should be into the U.S. system of justice, not one of preventive detention, warns Constitution Project


While testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee today,
Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested that the Defense Department
may be planning to construct a detention facility on U.S. soil as part
of a new system of indefinite preventive detention for Guantanamo
detainees who are not transferred to other countries, nor provided with
criminal trials in federal court. He suggested that as many as 100
Guantanamo detainees might then be held indefinitely in such a facility
without ever facing trial. He went on to ask rhetorically, "What do we
do with the 50 to 100-probably in that ballpark-who we cannot release
and cannot try?" The Constitution Project calls on the Obama
administration to end the policy of indefinite detention without charge
- bringing our national security policies into line with the rule of

The following can be attributed to Sharon Bradford Franklin, Constitution Project Senior Policy Counsel:

domestic and international uproar over the Guantanamo Bay detention
facility was due our nation's disregard of the rule of law. If the
United States were to simply move the detainees onto U.S. soil and
continue to detain them without charge or legal process, then the act
of closing Guantanamo would have been meaningless.

"The United
States must close Guantanamo. But more importantly, the government must
end the policies in place at Guantanamo. Prosecutions for terrorism
offenses can and should be handled by our traditional court system, as
has been the case for over 200 years. We should not establish a new
system of preventive detention without trial here on U.S. soil."

Constitution Project's bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee,
made up of policy experts and advocates, released a white paper last
June arguing against establishing a system of preventive detention
without trial for terrorist suspects. The report, "A Critique of
National Security Courts," was later updated to include endorsements
from additional former federal judges and prosecutors.

To view the report, please visit:

The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at