NBC's Guthrie falsely claimed "[n]o congressman" has offered to take Guantánamo detainees


Savannah Guthrie falsely claimed of Guantánamo Bay detainees: "No congressman wants these detainees in their district." In fact, at least two congressmen have offered to hold Guantánamo detainees at prisons in their districts.

During the May 20 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, NBC News correspondent Savannah Guthrie falsely claimed of detainees held at the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba: "No congressman wants these detainees in their district." In fact, at least two congressional representatives have offered to hold detainees from Guantánamo Bay at prisons in their districts.

In a May 9 op-ed in The Washington Post, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) offered use of the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse and Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia. In the op-ed, Moran noted that "the '20th hijacker,' Zacarias Moussaoui, who participated in planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon, was held and prosecuted in the Alexandria courthouse" and stated that "should President Obama determine that Alexandria needs to play a reasonably limited role in a nationwide effort to bring justice to the Guantanamo detainees and close this unfortunate chapter of American history, I am confident that Alexandrians will stand strong as they always have."

Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) has also said that he is willing to house detainees from Guantánamo Bay at a prison in his district if a maximum security prison were built, according to a January 21 report published on FoxNews.com:

Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., says he'd be willing to house prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in his congressional district if President Obama makes good on a plan to close the U.S. prison there.


Murtha only has a minimum security prison in his district. But he says he'd have no reservations about holding detainees there in a maximum security prison.

"Sure, I'd take 'em," said Murtha, an outspoken critic of the Iraq war. "They're no more dangerous in my district than in Guantanamo."

Murtha added that there was "no reason not to put 'em in prisons in the United States and handle them the way they would handle any other prisoners."

From the May 20 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

JOE SCARBOROUGH (co-host): Well, so much -- so much stuff going on at the White House. We could talk about credit cards; we could talk about CAFE standards. But let's start with what happened yesterday in the Senate regarding Gitmo. Is the White House concerned --


SCARBOROUGH: -- with that vote, or do they understand why the Democrats stripped out the funding for shutting down Gitmo?

GUTHRIE: Well, I think at this point they get it, that on the Hill there's grave concern that there really isn't a plan for what to do with these detainees, and that Congress is just simply not going to open the purse strings until they know more about it. This is a political hot potato. No congressman wants these detainees in their district. Without more information, either the House or Senate doesn't want to be coming up with the money.

Now, look, eventually it's clear that they will. And I think, actually, tomorrow, when the president gives this big speech on detainee policy and some of these national security issues, we're going to have a little more meat on the bones. I don't think it's going to be the Guantánamo plan, but I think there will be more detail. And perhaps the White House is hoping that will satisfy enough members in Congress so that they can get this money released, because actually the Pentagon spokesman was quoted as saying, you know, without getting money soon that January 22 deadline, which I think it is to close Guantánamo, looks a little bit in jeopardy.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Savannah Guthrie
Morning Joe
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