‘Decision First, The Law Later’

Is The Obama Administration Getting Ready To Violate The Law For A 2nd Time On Guantanamo Bay?

“The Pentagon's plan outlining the long-stalled effort to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, expected in the coming week, includes details suggesting that the Centennial Correctional Facility in Colorado is one suitable site to send detainees whom officials believe should never be released, administration officials said.” (“Pentagon’s Plan To Close Guantanamo Expected In Coming Week,” Associated Press, 11/08/15)

President Obama’s Gitmo Plan ‘Might Now Be A Criminal Violation’

WALL STREET JOURNAL: “Mr. Obama’s inability to negotiate honestly with the legislature is a hallmark of his Presidency. More damaging is the precedent he is setting by making major policy changes with no more than a wave of his executive hand. Press reports note that Administration lawyers are working on legal justifications for the Gitmo order. Decision first, the law later.” (Editorial, “Obama’s Gitmo Workaround,” Wall Street Journal, 11/5/15)

“…it might now be a criminal violation to move a detainee to the mainland on a military plane.” (“Guantánamo Is Leaving Obama With Choices, Neither of Them Simple,” The New York Times, 10/31/15)

SEC. 1031: NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL: “No amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense may be used during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2016, to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release to or within the United States, its territories, or possessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other detainee who— (1) is not a United States citizen or a member of the Armed Forces of the United States; and (2) is or was held on or after January 20, 2009, at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the Department of Defense.” (H.R.1735, Vetoed 10/22/15)


Closing Gitmo: ‘It’s A Bad Idea, Really A Bad Idea’

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): “McCain said that the president ‘lies when he says that he really wants to close Guantanamo with the cooperation of Congress, because he’s never sent over a plan.’” (“Battle Over Guantánamo Set To Erupt,” The Hill, 11/7/15)

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R-CO): “A Colorado senator made it clear this week that he opposes any move to relocate detainees to his state. ‘I will not sit idly by while the president uses political promises to imperil the people of Colorado by moving enemy combatants from Cuba, Guantanamo Bay, to my state of Colorado,’ Republican Sen. Cory Gardner told a Capitol Hill news conference.” (“Pentagon’s Plan To Close Guantanamo Expected In Coming Week,” Associated Press, 11/08/15)

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS): Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) has called Obama ‘damn stubborn’ about closing the prison camp. ‘It just raises all this dust in opposition,’ he added. ‘It’s a bad idea, really a bad idea. I hope those of us in the Congress will maintain our vigilance.’” (“Battle Over Guantánamo Set To Erupt,” The Hill, 11/7/15)

SEN. JERRY MORAN (R-KS): “Terrorists should not be living down the road from Ft. Leavenworth – home to thousands of Army soldiers and their families, as well as military personnel from across the globe who study at the Intellectual Center of the Army. . . . I have repeatedly been part of efforts in Congress to prevent the facility’s closure and block the transfer of detainees to American soil, not only through legislation but also through the annual defense authorization bill. I will continue to push to prohibit the transfer of prisoners to Kansas or anywhere else in the United States. This administration’s last-ditch effort to carry out President Obama’s reckless national security decision before he leaves office is disingenuous and flawed.” (Sen. Moran, Press Release, 8/14/15)

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): “Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., called the military prison in Cuba ‘the world’s best location for these enemy combatants’ and said the Navy's Consolidated Brig military prison outside outside Charleston is not an acceptable alternative… ‘The president in this latest announcement is overcookin’ my grits,’ Scott said. ‘This is approaching lawless behavior. To consider a domestic location is, in my opinion, the worst decision for America’s national security.’” (“Sen. Tim Scott Opposes Plan To Close Guantanamo Bay Prison,” The State, 11/5/15)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): “‘If true, I would not support moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to Charleston, S.C.,’ Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement.” (“Issue Of Where To Move Guantanamo Detainees Threatens Closure Plan,” Washington Post, 8/10/15)

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH): “When the administration transfers a Guantanamo detainee who was formerly assessed as a high risk for reengagement in terrorism, the onus is on the administration to explain openly to the American people what has changed. A failure to do so suggests the administration is more interested in emptying Guantanamo so that it can close it, rather than protecting the national security interests of the United States and the lives of Americans...” (Sen. Ayotte, Press Release, 12/20/14)


Flashback: Obama Administration Previously ‘Violated The Law’ Concerning Gitmo

“The Obama administration violated the law when it failed to give Congress adequate notice about the transfer of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay as part of a swap for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the investigative arm of Congress said Thursday.” (“Bergdahl Swap Violated Law, GAO Says,” Wall Street Journal, 8/21/14)

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY: “Under these exceptional circumstances, the Administration determined that it was necessary and appropriate to forgo 30 days’ notice of the transfer in order to obtain SGT Bergdahl’s safe return.” (“GAO: Bergdahl Swap Violated Law,” Politico, 8/21/14)

“In a decision released today, the GAO said the Pentagon spent $988,400 to transfer the detainees, violating both the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act’s prohibition on transferring detainees out of Guantánamo without alerting Congress and the Antideficiency Act’s ban on unauthorized government spending.” (“GAO: Bergdahl Swap Violated Law,” Politico, 8/21/14)

GAO: “The Department of Defense violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 when it transferred five individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the nation of Qatar without providing at least 30-days notice to certain congressional committees," the Government Accountability Office said.” (“Bergdahl Swap Violated Law, GAO Says,” Wall Street Journal, 8/21/14)



Related Issues: Executive Orders, War on Terror, National Security, Guantanamo Detention Facility