WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — Shutting down the Guantanamo Bay detention center will save the United States as much as $82 million annually, US Department of Defense Special Envoy for Gitmo Closure Paul Lewis said.
"Our basic point is, if we transfer detainees to the United States, it will be less expensive and we estimated…the best case scenario, we could save $82 million per year," Lewis said.
Lewis cited Defense Department estimates that the initial costs for transferring Guantanamo prisoners to the United States could be paid back in two or three years.
The Obama administration is still looking at options to house Gitmo prisoners at a federal non-military facility "or we start from scratch," Lewis said.
The Pentagon began looking into possible sites to house Gitmo detainees in the US states of Kansas and Colorado. President Obama has pledged to close down the Gitmo prison before his term in office ends in January 2017.