[JURIST] New US Defense Secretary Robert Gates [official profile] said Thursday that the White House and Congress should collaborate to close the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] by transferring the more dangerous detainees elsewhere. Gates told the US House Defense Appropriations Committee [official website] that less than 100 of the 385 total prisoners held at Guantanamo are considered "hard-core" threats to the US. Legislators agreed the prison camp harms US credibility with international allies, but asked Gates to gather more information on the possibility of moving the more dangerous prisoners to military prisons over the long term. Shortly after taking office Gates privately argued [JURIST report] that the Guantanamo Bay prison should be shut down, but his proposal was rejected by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Vice President Dick Cheney, and ultimately by the President himself.
Gates' comments coincided with the release of a transcript [PDF text] documenting a hearing involving Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi [GlobalSecurity profile], who has admitted to receiving thousands of dollars from 9/11 hijackers shortly before the attacks. He was allegedly one of two main facilitators who assisted Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile] in managing the finances of the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. Hawsawi is being investigated by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal [DOD backgrounder] as one of 14 "high-value" Guantanamo detainees to determine if they should be tried [JURIST report] for war crimes as enemy combatants [JURIST news archive]. AP has more.