Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) strongly criticized President Barack Obama’s speech on counterterrorism Thursday, in which he announced he will again seek to close down the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by requesting the Department of Defense designate a new site to hold military commissions in the United States.
“The President’s speech today will be viewed by terrorists as a victory,” said Chambliss, who recently golfed with the president, in a statement. “Rather than continuing successful counterterrorism activities, we are changing course with no clear operational benefit. We knew five years ago that closing Guantanamo was a bad idea and would not work.
“Yet, today’s speech sends the message to Guantanamo detainees that if they harass the dedicated military personnel there enough, we will give in and send them home, even to Yemen,” he added. “With the recidivism rate now at 28% and the increased threat from al Qaeda and its affiliates, including in Yemen, GITMO must stay open for business.”
In a historic speech at National Defense University in Washington, Obama said he would seek to bring the era of global war on terror to an end by calling on limited drone warfare and the lifting of restrictions on detainee transfers from Guantanamo Bay.
“I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, so we can review them on a case by case basis,” Obama said. “To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries.”