Image: Guantanamo Bay detention center
John Moore  /  Getty Images
A U.S. military guard arrives for work at Camp Delta in the Guantanamo Bay detention center on March 30, 2010 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to close the prison by early 2010 but has struggled to transfer, try or release the remaining detainees from the facility, located on the U.S. Naval Base.
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updated 11/28/2012 10:15:48 PM ET 2012-11-29T03:15:48

The controversial detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be closed and the 166 detainees being held there could be absorbed safely by U.S. prisons, a government report says.

Many of the detainees are accused of plotting terrorist acts against the United States.

"This report demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantanamo without imperiling our national security," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman who released the Government Accountability Office study Wednesday.

The GAO study shows that U.S. prisons already hold 373 prisoners convicted of terrorism in 98 facilities across the country.

"As far as I know, there hasn't been a single security problem reported in any of these cases," Feinstein said. "This fact outweighs not only the high cost of maintaining Guantanamo — which costs more than $114 million a year — but also provides the same degree of security without the criticism of operating a military prison in an isolated location."

The study said there are six Defense Department prisons and 98 Justice Department prisons that could take the detainees, but it does say that existing facilities likely would need to be modified and current inmates may need to be relocated to make room for the new arrivals.

President Barack Obama ordered the closing of the Guantanamo's detention facility when he took office in 2009, but that was blocked by a Republican-led bill that cut off funding to move the detainees to the U.S. The lawmakers cited security concerns, saying the presence of the detainees would encourage terror attacks in the states or cities where they were being held.

Feinstein commissioned the study in 2008 to find out where the detainees could be held, if the White House was able to move ahead with Guantanamo's closure.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Photos: Guantanamo Bay detention center

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  1. A U.S. military guard arrives for work at Camp Delta in the Guantanamo Bay detention center on March 30, 2010. Two days after his inauguration in January 2009, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the facility in one year and review each detainee’s case individually, but he has missed the deadline by months and has struggled to transfer, try or release the remaining detainees. (These pictures have been reviewed by the U.S. military.) (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Detainees prepare to eat lunch at Camp 6 in the Guantanamo Bay detention center on March 30, 2010. The U.S. military currently holds 183 detainees at Guantanamo, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The detention center has held nearly 780 detainees in an assortment of camps that were built to accommodate different levels of security. In Camp 6, detainees spend at least 22 hours a day in single-occupancy cells. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. In this picture, a detainee stands in Guantanamo’s Camp 6, his face obscured by a wire fence. There are strict rules on the publication of photographs of detainees – any distinguishing features or clear pictures of detainees’ faces are not allowed past Guantanamo’s gates. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A detainee reads a magazine in the library at Camp 6. One of the obstacles President Obama faces in shutting down the detention facility is that Congress has blocked funding for a plan that would transfer some detainees to a prison in the United States. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The Department of Justice is currently reviewing each detainee’s case individually and categorizing them into three groups: those who face trial, those who will be transferred to detention facilities in other countries, and those who are deemed a danger but cannot released or tried because of sensitive evidence – and must continue to be held. There are 48 detainees in this category. Here, detainees prepare to eat lunch at Camp 6. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. In this photo, a detainee attends a class in "life skills" inside Camp 6. In November 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Sept. 11 suspects would be prosecuted in a federal court in New York City, setting off a heated debate that put the White House on the defense and has forced it to reconsider the plan. The Obama administration has also designated six detainees for trial by military tribunal, including Canadian Omar Khadr, whose trial will be the first at Guantanamo during the Obama presidency. (Brennan Linsley / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A U.S. Navy guard prepares to escort a detainee after a "life skills" class in Camp 6. Meantime, the war crimes tribunal convened in Guantanamo on April 28, 2010, to decide what evidence can be used against Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was just 15 when he was detained in Afghanistan in 2002. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Congressional Republicans and some Democrats oppose the plan to prosecute detainees in federal courts because that would give suspects full U.S. legal rights and could lead to the release of dangerous terrorists. Supporters, however, say military courts unfairly limit defendants’ rights and contend that federal courts are just as capable of bringing suspects to justice. In this photo, U.S. Army guards are briefed at the Guantanamo Bay detention center on March 30, 2010. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A U.S. Army soldier patrols past a guard tower at Camp Delta. A final difficulty in closing the detention facility is skepticism about how well some countries would monitor and rehabilitate detainees transferred there – and whether they would be at risk of being recruited into terror networks. Yemen, in particular, is under scrutiny after the failed Christmas Day airplane bombing by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is believed to have been trained by al-Qaida in Yemen. The Obama administration has since suspended all transfers to Yemen. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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