Kansas Republican: Military leaders have constitutional obligation to disobey Obama order to close Gitmo
A Kansas Republican suggested military leaders could simply disobey orders from their commander in chief to transfer detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) was among a handful of GOP lawmakers who sent a letter last year urging the Joint Chiefs of Staff to “seek appropriate legal advice” before following any executive orders by President Barack Obama to close the prison, reported Right Wing Watch.
Pompeo appeared Wednesday on Newsmax TV, where he said he wasn’t sure military leaders would comply with Obama’s plan to shut down the notorious facility.
“The men and women of our military who he would ask to carry out that mission would have to look very carefully at whether the direction that they were being given was consistent with what their counsel was telling them about what was legal,” Pompeo said. “I hope the president won’t put anybody in that position and won’t present risk to America, but we’ve watched the president behave in lawless ways.”
Host Steve Malzberg asked the congressman whether military members might disobey the president’s order after consulting with unspecified legal authorities.
“You know, I served, Steve, in the military for quite a while, and if there’s one thing you understand it’s chain of command and following orders,” Pompeo said.
The lawmaker and military veteran, however, carved out a major exception to the chain of command and the obligation to follow orders — at least when Obama is the commander in chief.
“But there’s another duty: When you take an oath to the Constitution and to defend America, your oath is different,” Pompeo said. “So it would be an incredibly difficult spot that they would find themselves in, and I just literally pray that no commander in chief would ever put the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in that kind of position.”
Malzberg asked the congressman flatly whether the military would disobey an executive order to shut down Guantanamo Bay.
“I don’t know, Steve,” Pompeo said. “It’s difficult to answer yes or no.”
Watch the interview posted online by Newsmax TV: