Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) on Thursday condemned President Barack Obama for calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
“The President’s speech today will be viewed by terrorists as a victory,” he said in a statement. “Rather than continuing successful counterterrorism activities, we are changing course with no clear operational benefit. We knew five years ago that closing Guantanamo was a bad idea and would not work. Yet, today’s speech sends the message to Guantanamo detainees that if they harass the dedicated military personnel there enough, we will give in and send them home, even to Yemen. With the recidivism rate now at 28% and the increased threat from al Qaeda and its affiliates, including in Yemen, GITMO must stay open for business.”
In a speech at the Pentagon-funded National Defense University, Obama called on Congress to remove restrictions that “effectively” prevented the administration from transferring Guantanamo detainees to other countries or imprisoning them in the United States.
At a press conference following Obama’s speech, Chambliss elaborated on his statement.
“I have been one to advocate maintaining Guantanamo Bay,” he explained. “My reason is pretty simple. If we were to capture some of the Benghazi terrorists, who we know today are running free, what are we going to do with them? We have no place to take them. Are we going to bring them into an Article 3 [civilian] court? Are we going to trust the Libyans to prosecute them? What is going to happen to em?”
Chambliss also criticized the President for vowing to increase transparency regarding U.S. drone strikes against suspected terrorists. The Republican senator claimed that to “open the book” on the controversial program could make the United States less safe.
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