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Future of Gitmo

Report: Pentagon wants to replace the top-secret portion of Guantanamo Bay prison

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WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) -- In their latest budget, the Pentagon is asking for $69 million in order to build a new prison which would detain high profile, top-secret prisoners. The requests were first reported by The Miami Herald and The Hill.

The request is a part of the budget proposals the Pentagon has submitted for fiscal year 2019. The Pentagon is warning in their proposal that the current prison as it is right now faces "mechanical, electrical and secure-communications" failures. They also warn that if the problem isn't fixed - U.S. Army guards who work there are at risk.

The newly rebuilt building would cost $4.6 million per prisonerand would last for 40 years. It would include a "legal visitation area." It is unknown how many new cells would be included in this new "maximum-security detention facility."

Camp 7, a section of Guantanamo Bay, imprisons high-value targets including the mastermind of 9/11 - Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the four other alleged conspirators who helped organize 9/11. Mohammed is also the person who organized the USS Cole bombing.

If this plan were to go through, the contract would be awarded in May 2019 before construction begins July 2019. The project would finish in July 2022.

All of this comes after President Trump promised to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open during his State of the Union speech. In January, Trump also signed an executive order keeping the prison open.

"We have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists only to meet them again on the battlefield," Trump stated on Jan. 30 in front of members of Congress in the Capitol.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told Sinclair Broadcast Group that it is essential for Guantanamo Bay to remain open.

"Guantanamo Bay is a safe location for (terrorists) to go," Nauert said. "People across the world have to understand that we are going to protect America first and foremost."

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The operating budget for the facility in the fiscal year 2014 was $107 million even before including staff salaries and additional expenses.

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