This past week, President Obama demonstrated, yet again, that he puts his party’s politics before protecting the American People. On Tuesday, the President announced his plan to shut down the high-security prison at Guantanamo Bay, which currently houses 91 terrorist detainees.
The President laid out his plan in four disastrous steps.
The President’s first phase is to move forward with plans to transfer 35 terrorist detainees to an unknown list of foreign nations. The countries that are to receive these terrorists have not been disclosed to the public. In fact, the White House may not even know which countries will eventually accept detainees.
Just this past January, the Obama Administration issued the transfer of 10 Yemini terrorist detainees to Oman, the neighboring nation to Yemen where Al-Quaeda has created a stronghold as a result of an ongoing civil war and desperately unstable political structure. Releasing terrorists to other countries, especially those in such proximity to terrorist breeding grounds, puts our country at greater risk.
Secondly, the President plans to “accelerate” the review process of detainees to verify that they do not pose a continuous threat to our Nation, in order to expedite their releases. This would result in the potential release of dozens more hardened terrorists.
This is outrageous. We should take all necessary precautions to ensure that these terrorists never pose a threat to any American citizens. It is unbelievable that this Administration would potentially put the safety of Americans at risk in order to speed up the process of closing Guantanamo Bay. In addition, it is estimated that one-third of freed Guantanamo detainees return to committing terrorism upon their release. These terrorist detainees pose a clear threat to our national security and the safety of Americans around the world.
Thirdly, the President stated that he will implement the use of the federal courts to prosecute these terrorists, instead of the military commissions that are used for wartime enemy combatants. This suggests that the President would consider these terrorists ordinary criminals and not enemy combatants of the United States. One thing should be crystal clear: these terrorists are in fact enemies of the State, and they should be treated as such.
Fourth and finally, President Obama wants to backtrack on the legislation that he signed into law just this past November and transfer an unspecified amount of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to unnamed locations throughout the mainland United States. As I’ve said before, the transfer of dangerous, radicalized terrorists to American soil threatens the safety of citizens across our country.
Not only is the President’s plan dangerous and senseless, but it is illegal. President Obama himself signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 (NDAA), which specifically restricts any transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay Prison. In his address on Tuesday, he even acknowledged that his proposal must pass through Congress because he does not have the legal or constitutional authority to do this unilaterally.
Our Nation faces countless threats from enemies around the world every day. This Administration should be focusing on protecting Americans and strengthening our national security, not fulfilling its political agenda.
That is why I have consistently supported keeping the prison at Guantanamo Bay open and voted for legislation to prevent the President from bringing these terrorists detainees to our homeland. As Maine’s Second District Congressman, I will always put the safety of Americans first and will oppose the President’s agenda to shut down Guantanamo Bay.