The United States Southern Command has requested $49 million to build a new prison building at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for "special" detainees on top of other renovations it says are necessary since Congress has decided to keep it open indefinitely. That brings the potential taxpayer bill for upgrading the deteriorating facilities to an estimated $195.7 million, the military said on Thursday.
That overall price tag is significantly higher than the estimate of $150 million to $170 million that General John F. Kelly, the Southcom commander, gave in Congressional testimony on Wednesday. The special detainee facility was not included on the list of requested construction projects released by Southcom on Wednesday when reporters asked for details.
The project appears to be a proposed replacement for Camp 7, where so-called high-value detainees who were formerly held by the Central Intelligence Agency – like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described architect of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – are housed. While the existence of Camp 7 is widely known, the military generally refuses to discuss it.