The Obama administrations reluctance and difficulty in following congressional and Freedom of Information Act requests for documents and information is legion. From the State Department and the issues surrounding Hillary Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin, to the IRS and Lois Lerner’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups everyone from the Associated Press, to Judicial Watch have been compelled to go to federal court to get even the simplest and most basic of documents and information.
Not even the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice are immune from this pattern of behavior within the Obama administration of refusing to honor Freedom of Information Act requests and of hiding information that could be damaging to the administration, its policies, and its top officials, from the public.
Since early June of last year USofArn.com has been attempting to get the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is a part of the Justice Department, to release emails and other communications its officials may have had with each other and with other officials within the federal government including but not limited to those in the military, White House, and with Illinois Democrat congresswoman Cheri Bustos, and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin concerning the possible use of Thomson Prison, designated AUSP Thomson by the BOP, in Thomson, IL as a new home for the terrorist detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay under a Freedom of Information Act request that covered the time frame of January 1st, 2013 to the day the FOIA was filled.
After nearly 16 months of stalling, waiting, and delay, the Department of Justices Office of Information Policy, which handles FOIA appeals, upheld the Bureau of Prisons contention to USofArn.com made earlier this year that no records whatsoever existed pertinent to the FOIA request.
That is beyond absurd.
Hillary’s private server, Lois Lerner’s damaged hard drive, missing back data tapes, and now this.
Since President Obama first announced that he wanted to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and move the terrorist detainees there elsewhere the leading candidate for any possible domestic home for the likes of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and some 60 other terrorist who have been deemed to dangerous to ever be released has been Thomson Prison. The Obama administration with the help and aid of [mc_name name=’Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’D000563′ ] and then Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn bought the prison from the state of Illinois for $185 million, the state had built the prison in 2001 but had never opened it due to budget problems. The purchase was made over the objections of congressional Republicans as well as state lawmakers such as state Sen. Tim Bivins. Since the prison has been acquired by the Bureau of Prisons [mc_name name=’Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’D000563′ ] and [mc_name name=’Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001286′ ], whose Western Illinois district includes the prison, have funneled tens of millions of dollars into the prison to get it ready to receive prisoners. Thanks to Durbin and Bustos more than $50 million was eventually allocated to go to Thomson in the CRomnibus spending package.
For the Bureau of Prisons to claim that they never had any discussions whatsoever with anyone in the upper echelons on the military, or at the White House, or with [mc_name name=’Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’D000563′ ] or congresswoman Bustos during the time frame in question is ludicrous. During the period covered by USofArn.com’s FOIA multiple battles were waged on Capitol Hill over Congresses bans on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay terrorist into the United States those and other restrictions on what President Obama can do with the terrorist had to have been brought up in discussions at some point in time, logic dictates it. At some point in the process of getting tens of millions of dollars in funding to Thomson Bustos and Durbin had to have talked about Thomson’s potential role in Guantanamo’s closure plans with the Bureau of Prisons and the Bureau of Prisons with them.
Congressional committees conducting oversight of Guantanamo and the terrorist held there have gotten more than 30,000 emails from the military concerning the prisoners, and the Bureau of Prisons and Justice Department would have you and I believe that not one of them involves any email chain or anything of the sort with a Bureau of Prisons official and the words Thomson Prison and those terrorist detainees not coming up or some linguistic variation thereof.
This would all be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that reporters with the Washington Post have learned that the Obama administration had indeed been planning to send at least some Guantanamo Bay terrorist to the middle of the country but was blocked by officials at the Justice Department. This has prompted President Obama and his team to scramble to find an alternative to Thomson, such sites have included Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, and the Navy Brig in South Carolina. Just as when Thomson was first mentioned as a possible future home to the worst terrorist ever created cause major protest, so to have Kansas and South Carolina officials denounced the idea of bring any Gitmo terrorist into those states.
Naturally the Bureau of Prisons and the Justice Department, when confronted with a FOIA that could expose prematurely President Obama’s designs to bring terrorist to the shores of the Mississippi River they will claim there’s nothing to see here.
This refusal to tell the truth to the American people and to conceal what is in the cards for Thomson isn’t just limited to one FOIA request. For weeks USofArn.com has attempted to get Thomson’s Warden Donald Hudson to answer questions about his own facility, he steadfastly refuses. Attempts to get the Justice Departments Public Affairs office to answer questions about Thomson, and about the denial of the email FOIA have gone unanswered. Last month the Bureau of Prisons Public Affairs Office outright denied that Thomson was in any plans for housing terrorist and said that they would follow Congresses bans on terrorist transfers and the use of funds for that purpose.
Just as troubling has been the Bureau of Prisons inaction on a second Freedom of Information Act request made at the exact same time as the email request, only this one was for basic information about any and all vendors that were used in the sale, transfer, and remodel of the prison. Simple basic things that should have been easily obtained, compiled, and sent to USofArn.com, months ago. To date, the Bureau of Prisons has done nothing with this FOIA request over Thomson’s vendors and attempts to get a status update or explanation for the extremely long delay have also not been answered.
The reason the vendor information is important is because USofArn.com has every intention of taking that information and using it in a collaborative effort with Adam Andrzejewski’s OpenTheBooks.com to find out exactly whose been getting all those tens of millions of dollars [mc_name name=’Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’D000563′ ] and congresswoman Bustos have been pouring into the prison. As the line goes with Woodward and Bernstein “Follow the money” and Adam and his excellent team are downright blood hounds when it comes to finding wasteful and inappropriate spending(see all of their work related to the College of DuPage).
Barack Obama’s time as President is coming to an end, and as we have seen with the recent releases of even more Guantanamo terrorist, including one of Osama Bin Laden’s former body guards, he really wants to cement his legacy and wants the closure of Guantanamo Bay to be a part of that. With his fail back plan of sending the terrorist to the military prisons facing oppositions we can never put it past Obama and his team, especially given their continued silence about all things Thomson, that they could come back to plan A and do what the President has threatened to do in the past and move the Gitmo terrorist into the US regardless of what Congress has said. [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] has been open and vocal that he’d been a supporter of just about any plan President Obama offers to close Gitmo and more some terrorist into the country.
The designs and policy ambitions of President Obama and Sen. McCain should be irrelevant when it comes to the future of Thomson, Guantanamo Bay, and the vile terrorist monsters held there. All three should be treated as separate issues debated openly in the public and in the halls of Congress. Everyone from the newest member of Congress(Illinois’ Darin LaHood) to a farmer in rural Carroll County should have as much information about what is going on around them and that would greatly impact their lives as possible.
Shame on the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Justice, and the whole Obama administration for keeping that information away from the public.