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Open Letter to Governor Sanford and the General Assembly — A Call to Action: Keep the Gitmo Detainees out of the Lowcountry

November 2, 2009

A Call to Action
By Michael S. Smith II


Dear Gov. Sanford and Members of the S.C. General Assembly,

Pursuant to a discussion I recently had with an expert on terrorism and radicalized Islam I wonder if you are familiar with a legal case that has been kept all too quiet in North Charleston, a case regarding a Naval Weapons Station employee who was caught with loads of ammunition, grenades and other materials smuggled off the base and stored nearby for sale on the black market?

 According to my source, this arrest was made in the past year. However, nothing much has been released about the case since the arrest was made in Berkeley County. My source learned of this matter from a law enforcement officer who was involved in the now well-known arrest (in Goose Creek, S.C.) of the suspected terrorists who were thought to be plotting an attack on the weapons station.

If you are familiar with this matter it is time to start speaking up.

If you are not familiar with the details surrounding this arrest, please advise your staffers to gather information about it for you.

Such security breaches at Charleston area federal facilities serve as perfect examples for why it makes no sense for Gitmo detainees to be sent here.

Beyond this, look at the historical examples of just how closely-tied so many Gitmo detainees actually are to al-Qa’ida (i.e. within months of their releases many former Gitmo detainees are popping up on the Feds’ radars as suicide bombers and “suddenly” significant players within al Qa’ida’s cells and affiliated terrorist organizations based in AFPAK and the Horn of Africa).

Keep in mind these are the low-level detainees who have been released.

Just imagine what we don’t know about the ones still being detained.

While you think about this, please consider why Charleston — a thriving seaport city with myriad significant defense-oriented installations and the headquarters of a high-profile law firm involved with terrorism cases — could very quickly become a top target for al Qa’ida and other Islamist organizations if those detainees are sent here.

Please also keep in mind the negative impact this move will have on the state’s very successful business development efforts of late.

(Also keep in mind: the law enforcement officer who was my source’s source advised he and his colleagues found more than just fireworks in the trunk of the car pulled in Goose Creek.)

South Carolinians do not expect you to play nice about the prospect of Gitmo detainees being moved to Charleston. Furthermore, I encourage all of you and your colleagues to request briefings about those detainees from Sen. DeMint’s and Sen. Graham’s offices.

Once you’ve been apprised of what you should know — not just that which you “need to know” — please share with the press information available to you that reveals just how problematic it may be to make Charleston the future detention place for Gitmo detainees. Your constituents deserve to know exactly why this is.

Finally, as an alternative to Charleston or other such well-known cities in the United States becoming the places where those detainees are sent, please encourage the Obama administration to allow the FBI to create an off-the-map, “black” site to use as the new facility where Gitmo detainees may be kept — if, that is, it is actually necessary to send them somewhere within our country’s borders.



Michael S. Smith II
Charleston, S.C.




























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