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No Guantanamo Bay Tour For U.S. Congressman`s Guests

CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Sept. 9, 2009: .A Republican congressman in Michigan is questioning why his request to let state and local officials tour the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is being denied.

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the Obama administration`s response to his request to take Michigan lawmakers and media for an oversight and investigation visit to Guantanamo Bay showed that the administration is not serious in its alleged commitment to transparency and openness.

In a letter to Hoekstra, the Department of Defense declined his request to lead a delegation to visit the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The letter stated it would be `premature` to have local officials visit until a final decision is made. Hoekstra noted that the time for transparency is not after a decision has been made but before, so people can understand fully how it will impact them. He said that if the administration is convinced closing Guantanamo Bay is the right decision, he cannot understand why it is so unwilling to be forthcoming with all information related to the safety and risks of operating such a facility in the state of Michigan or elsewhere in the United States.

But  Hoekstra insists that `state officials need access to information on the terrorist detainees, they need to see the facilities, and they need to be given a full assessment of known threats.`

And he insisted, `Despite the administration`s stonewalling, I will continue to fight to give state officials, and all the people of Michigan, the transparency and access they deserve on this decision that will affect the safety and well-being of all our families.`