Pentagon denies funds to renovate Gitmo

The disintegration of facilities highlights how the promise of a temporary prison remains broken

Topics: gitmo, Guantanamo Bay, renovations, General John F. Kelly, Detainees, Pentagon, ,

Guantanamo Bay detention center was never supposed to be around this long — hence crumbling facilities in need of renovation. Nonetheless the prison camp still operates with 164 detainees (nearly 80 of whom have been cleared for transfer).

As such, the military requested $195.7 million to renovate the prison; a request rejected this week by the Pentagon. The New York Times reported Wednesday that “Col. Greg Julian of the Army… said the request had been rejected “because of a lack of Congressional support to use the overseas contingency funding that we sought to complete those projects. So now we are working on various measures to mitigate some of the conditions of the facilities.”

Gen. John F. Kelly, the head of the Southern Command who oversees Guantánamo, testified on Capitol Hill in March of the need for renovation, noting that the camp has been kept open far longer than promised:

“These are things that we have to do right now,” General Kelly testified. “I’m assuming Guantánamo will be closed someday, but if we look into the past 11 years, it was supposed to be temporary. Who knows where it’s going? We’ve got to take care of our troops.”

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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