US military plans fiber optic link to Guantanamo
The Pentagon plans to install a $40 million fiber optic cable between the US military jail at Guantanamo Bay and the US mainland, a spokesman said Thursday -- an indication the facility will not close anytime soon.
According to a "feasibility study" conducted by the US Defense Information Systems Agency, the project will cost an estimated $40 million, Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale told AFP.
The project -- part of the budget for the fiscal year 2013 -- must be approved by Congress, he said, confirming a Miami Herald report.
The construction of a fiber optic link would greatly improve telecoms access for those living at the US military base in Cuba. Detention camps at the naval base currently house 169 inmates.
President Barack Obama had promised the detention center would be closed, but Congress has so far blocked any substantive measures.
News of the fiber optic cable project comes after the recent construction of a football field for Guantanamo inmates, at a cost of $744,000.
"It would be a mistake to assume that some potential use of fiber optic communication lines" at Guantanamo Bay "is any indication of how long the detention center will be around," said Breasseale.
"Our goal remains to close the detention facility. We have no plans to close the naval station there."
The Guantanamo Bay naval base is built on Cuban land leased to the United States in 1903. Terror suspects have been detained at the prison there since 2001.
(c) 2012 AFP