Charleston, S.C., Is Leading Choice For Military Tribunals By Julian E. Barnes

Washington Wire (
May 23, 2013

The leading candidate for the U.S. location for military commissions is the Naval Brig at Charleston, S.C., according to a senior administration official.

In his speech President Barack Obama said that he would ask the Department of Defense to find a location inside the U.S. to hold military commissions.

Currently, the commissions are being held at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but Mr. Obama has pledged a renewed effort to close the prison, and clearly wants to move the tribunals for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other detainees away from the base in Cuba.

Still moving the commissions to the U.S. will face high hurdles in Congress, and may sit particularly poorly with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C), a key member of the Armed Services Committee. The 2013 Defense authorization act continues the ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. That prohibition will expire at the end of the year, but Republicans have long wanted to make it permanent.

Mr. Obama on Thursday asked Congress to lift those restrictions.

“I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from Gitmo,” he said.” I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions.”

Charleston has been used to hold other terrorism suspects, and has been considered for other military terrorism trials in the past. Still, officials said no formal decision has been made and the Pentagon will review a variety of possible locations.


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