The Pentagon spends more than $150 million a year running the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba — and the military could spend as much as $170 million more upgrading it.
The cost equals a little more than $900,000 for each of the 166 detainees there, CNN reports.
By comparison, costs to house a typical federal prison inmate run about $25,000 a year, CNN reports, and at the “supermax” prison in Colorado that holds such domestic terrorists as Eric Rudolph and Ted Kaczynski, the costs are about $60,000.
“We have to always plan to conduct that mission from now into the future,” Army Col. John Bogdan, commander of the military's Joint Detention Group at Guantanamo, told CNN on Friday. “And the policymakers will decide when that mission's over.”
Despite yet another recent pledge by President Barack Obama to close Guantanamo Bay, the Pentagon’s renovation plans include a $50 million overhaul for Camp VII, the most secretive part of the compound, CNN reports.
Held there are such inmates as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-professed organizer of the attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001; accused co-conspirators Walid bin Attash and Ramzi Bin al-Shahb; and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is charged with leading the plot to bomb the USS Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 American sailors.
Guantanamo Bay, located on a Navy base on the eastern end of Cuba, is 11 years old — and 100 of its inmates marked 100 days of a hunger strike on Friday, protesting their continued imprisonment, CNN reports.
Eighty-six of the 166 detainees have been approved to be transferred out, but the White House and Congress have essentially stopped the moves, CNN reports.
The last set of transfers occurred in September — and the State Department office tasked with finding countries that would take the others was closed in January.
Because Guantanamo Bay was hastily built and never thought to be permanent, it may need as much as $170 million more in repairs, said Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, the chief of U.S. forces in the region, CNN reports.
“This is really a kind of thrown-together operation,” Kelly told the House Armed Services Committee in March, CNN reports. “It's really not 11 years long. It's really one year, 11 times.”
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