lifetime imprisonment for people who are never put on trial?
Senator Says Lifetime Terror Detentions 'Bad Idea'
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A reported U.S. plan to keep
some suspected terrorists imprisoned for a lifetime
even if the government lacks evidence to charge them
in courts was swiftly condemned on Sunday as a "bad
idea" by a leading Republican senator.
The Pentagon (news - web sites) and the CIA (news -
web sites) have asked the White House to decide on a
more permanent approach for those it was unwilling to
set free or turn over to U.S. or foreign courts, the
Washington Post said in a report that cited
intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials.
Some detentions could potentially last a lifetime, the
Influential senators denounced the idea as probably
"It's a bad idea. So we ought to get over it and we
ought to have a very careful, constitutional look at
this," Republican Sen. Richard Lugar (news, bio,
voting record) of Indiana, chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee said on "Fox News Sunday."
Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record) of
Michigan, senior Democrat on the Armed Services
Committee, cited earlier U.S. Supreme Court (news -
web sites) decisions. "There must be some modicum,
some semblance of due process ... if you're going to
detain people, whether it's for life or whether it's
for years," Levin said, also on Fox.
The White House did not immediately respond to a
request for comment. The State Department declined
comment and a Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Ellen
Krenke of the Air Force, had no information on the
As part of a solution, the Defense Department, which
holds 500 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, plans to ask
the U.S. Congress for $25 million to build a 200-bed
prison to hold detainees who are unlikely to ever go
through a military tribunal for lack of evidence,
defense officials told the Washington Post.
The new prison, dubbed Camp 6, would allow inmates
more comfort and freedom than they have now, and would
be designed for prisoners the government believes have
no more intelligence to share, the newspaper said.
"It would be modeled on a U.S. prison and would allow
socializing among inmates," the paper said.
"Since global war on terror is a long-term effort, it
makes sense for us to be looking at solutions for
long-term problems," Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon
spokesman, was quoted as saying. "This has been
evolutionary, but we are at a point in time where we
have to say, 'How do you deal with them in the long
The Post said the outcome of a review under way would
also affect those expected to be captured in the
course of future counterterrorism operations.
One proposal would transfer large numbers of Afghan,
Saudi and Yemeni detainees from the U.S. military's
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center into new
U.S.-built prisons in their home countries, it said.
The prisons would be operated by those countries, but
the State Department, where this idea originated,
would ask them to abide by recognized human rights
standards and would monitor compliance, a senior
administration official was quoted as saying.