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Cotton Column on President Obama’s Proposed Closure of Guantanamo Bay

Senator Cotton’s column for this week is below. Please find a high-resolution photo attached or for download here.

Recently, President Obama announced his plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Despite opposition from the majority of Americans, it seems he is intent on using his last 11 months in office to carry out an ill-advised, ideological campaign promise. Worse, he will just wash his hands of the disastrous implications next January, but America will suffer the consequences long after he leaves office.

Guantanamo Bay is a first-rate detention facility that’s kept terrorists off the battlefield and played a critical role in our counterterrorism efforts. It allows us to concentrate trained experts in interrogation in one place to extract intelligence of paramount importance in uncovering and stopping plots against Americans. Information obtained from detainees at Guantanamo has been described by the CIA as “the lead information” that enabled the agency to recognize the importance of a courier for Osama bin Laden, a crucial understanding that lead to the U.S. raid that killed him. If Guantanamo Bay closes, we will lose that kind of valuable information.

As part of his plan, President Obama also announced he plans to transfer many of the remaining Guantanamo Bay detainees to other countries. Let’s consider what’s happened to those “detainees” who have been already been released from Guantanamo Bay over the last several years. Over six hundred and fifty detainees have been released from Guantanamo, with 196 being confirmed or suspected of having returned to the battlefield-a 30 percent recidivism rate. This number is likely much higher and is made even more stark when measured against the recidivism rate of those who haven’t been released: zero.

And those detainees that can’t be transferred to other countries? President Obama plans to bring them here, to the United States where they will be imprisoned in our regular, maximum security prisons. Bringing them to our shores is not only unnecessary and dangerous, it is also unlawful. President Obama’s own military and Attorney General have both said they lack the legal authority to transfer detainees to the United States. President Obama can’t ignore that reality.

Rest assured, I am committed to ensuring this valuable counter intelligence tool remains open and to increasing the number of terrorists sent there. Simply put, President Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay is dead on arrival in the Senate.

One comment

  1. Guantanamo is not a “valuable intelligence tool”. It is a national embarrassment, as is Tom Cotton. We aren’t sending new people there, so any information that might be gathered is in most cases 12-15 years out of date. And no one with actual knowledge of the Bin Laden operation has hinted at anything useful coming from prisoners there.

    As to the number of releases involved in “terrorist” activities, Cotton’s figures are significantly higher than anyone with knowledge of actual operations, and even more misleading by including people “suspected” of being active. As a graduate of Harvard Law, Cotton knows the difference between “suspected” and proven, and continues his practice of lying with every press release.

    And the only “risk” in transferring prisoners to United States prisons is that it might strengthen the prisoner’s case in demanding some kind of trial or tribunal where actual evidence of their guilt or innocence would be presented. Due process of law is one of the things we claim to be fighting for – just not for anyone paranoids like Cotton are afraid of. We have perfectly good maximum security facilities that safely hold Mafia dons, cartel kingpins and gang leaders; there is no earthly reason to keep spending millions on a prison in Cuba to hold a few remaining terrorist suspects.

    Cotton’s only purpose seems to be to dishonestly oppose anything sensible that Obama proposes while he tries his best to expand the unconstitutional abuses of the surveillance state. He recently embarrassed even other Republicans in insulting the chairman of Apple over his resistance to the government’s attempts to break into everyone’s iPhones, and is doing everything in his power to establish the Government’s total and unchecked power over every aspect of our lives.

    It was an utterly self-destructive mistake on our part to give him the platform and power of a United States Senator.

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