McConnell: ‘We Need to Ensure the American People Are Protected’
‘The president should spend his remaining months in office working to defeat ISIL. He should work with us to prepare the next Administration for the threats he’ll leave behind. He should not waste another minute on his myopic Guantanamo crusade.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the National Defense Authorization Act:
“The National Defense Authorization Act before us is important for our troops, it’s important for wounded warriors and veterans, and it’s important for national security.
“One way it will help keep Americans safe is by renewing clear prohibitions on President Obama’s ability to move dangerous Guantanamo terrorists into the U.S. — or release them to unstable regions like Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.
“Our country faces the most ‘diverse and complex array of crises’ since World War II, as Henry Kissinger observed last year, but President Obama nonetheless seems focused on pursuing a stale campaign pledge from 2008.
“The president should spend his remaining months in office working to defeat ISIL. He should work with us to prepare the next Administration for the threats he’ll leave behind. He should not waste another minute on his myopic Guantanamo crusade.
“Just about every detainee that could feasibly be released from the secure detention facility has already been released. Some have already returned to the fight as we feared. Some have even taken more innocent American life, according to the Obama Administration. But the bottom line is this.
“The hardcore terrorists who do remain are among the worst of the worst.
“Here’s how President Obama’s own Secretary of Defense put it, ‘[T]here are people in Gitmo who are so dangerous that we cannot transfer them to the custody of another government no matter how much we trust that government. I can’t assure the president that it would be safe to do that.’
“There’s Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind 9/11. He has declared himself the enemy of the United States.
“There’s the 9/11 coordinator who was planning even more strikes when captured. And there’s Bin Laden’s former bodyguard, a terrorist who helped with the bombing of the USS Cole and trained to be a suicide hijacker for what was to be the Southeast Asia portion of the 9/11 attacks.
“These terrorists are among the worst of the worst. They belong at the secure detention facility. Not in facilities here in our communities. Not in unstable countries where they’re liable to rejoin the fight and take more innocent life. And have no doubt, there are detainees who would almost certainly rejoin terrorist organizations if given the opportunity.
“Here’s what the Office of the Director of National Intelligence found in a report this year, ‘Based on trends identified during the past eleven years, we assess that some detainees currently at GTMO will seek to reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities after they are transferred.’
“The next Commander-in-Chief, whether Democrat or Republican, will assume office confronting a complex and varied array of threats. That’s why we must use the remaining months of the Obama Administration as a year of transition to better posture the incoming administration and our country.
“What we should not be doing is making it even more challenging for the next president to meet these threats.
“Releasing hardcore terrorists was a bad idea when Obama was campaigning in 2008, it's an even worse idea today.
“We live in a complex world with complex threats.
“The NDAA before us will renew clear prohibitions against Administration attempts to transfer these terrorists to the U.S. on its way out the door. We don’t need to close a secure detention center; we need to ensure the American people are protected.
“Passing the legislation before us represents an important step in that direction. It will help position our military to confront the challenges of tomorrow. It will help support the men and women serving in harm’s way today.
“I thank the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee for his good work on this important bill. I thank the Ranking Member as well.”
Related Issues: NDAA, America's Military, National Security, Appropriations