National Security Network

Guantanamo Bay

Guantanamo Bay

Military

NSN Daily Update: Ten Years is Enough: National Security Leaders on Guantanamo

Report 9 January 2012
Ten years after the opening of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, political debate rages on. But the military who run it and security officials who tracked its inmates have a surprisingly united view: the facility should be closed and as many of its inmates as possible tried in U.S. courts.  With David Petraeus pointing out that "the enemy continues to beat you with them [Guantanamo conditions] like a stick," and retired officers from four-star Marine generals to the prison's first warden calling for it to be closed, it is time for Congress and the administration to work together to craft a solution based on effective counterterrorism, not fear-mongering. 
More »
Diplomacy

Misleading from South Carolina

Report 14 November 2011
As Republican candidates for president debated foreign policy in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) laid down lines of attack in the conservative National Review. Many of his attacks were echoed on Saturday by the candidates, who used the piece as a sort of playbook to fill in for a lack of experience and ideas in the field. Missing, in the debate and the article, was strategic thinking - China, for example, is mentioned only once in the piece, in relation to sanctions on Iran - as well as an understanding of the connection between the foundations of our strength at home and our power abroad. Also missing was awareness of how extreme conservative views clash with the advice of military leaders and nonpartisan national security experts. When Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), for example, was asked about her support for torture techniques that our military opposes, she said: "I'm on the same side as Vice President Cheney on this issue" and against Colin Powell and John McCain. Below, NSN explores how the topics covered in Graham's article stack up against expert advice. Graham's words are in italics.
More »
Terrorism & National Security

How We Got Him

Report 4 May 2011

The story we know so far of Osama bin Laden's tracking and killing reflects success in intelligence reform, interagency coordination and old-fashioned intelligence-gathering.  Well-informed sources from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to former Guantanamo interrogators to the White House have insisted that information gleaned from "advanced interrogation techniques" - or torture - played little or no role, or was actually counter-productive by generating false leads. National security and military leaders have long argued that torture is not only an ineffective tool for extracting information, but it is also harmful overall to counterterrorism efforts. In fact, experts have made clear in recent days that the information that led to bin Laden's whereabouts was the result of years of hard work and deep investigation. As Graham said, "I do not believe this is a time to celebrate waterboarding, I believe this is a time to celebrate hard work." 

More »
Terrorism & National Security

Conservatives vs. Military Leadership

Report 13 April 2010
A troubling trend has emerged in American politics: conservatives in congress, conservative presidential candidates, and the conservative punditry have staked out radical positions that continually oppose the Pentagon's efforts to keep America safe.  On major issue after major issue confronting the military and our nation's security, conservatives have time and again attacked the military's advice in order to both obstruct progress and score political points against the Obama administration.  This politicking, which is often based on factual distortions, has pitted the conservative movement against the very institutions that safeguard our freedom and security.  As NSN Senior Advisor Major General Paul D. Eaton, U.S. Army (Ret.), recently wrote: "No one is safe it seems" from these pundits. 
More »
Terrorism & National Security

Closing Guantanamo Remains a National Security Priority

Report 30 March 2010
Closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is important to the national security of the United States.  The Guantanamo Bay facility remains a dangerous recruitment tool for terrorists, obstructs our country's ability to obtain international cooperation on counterterrorism, and violates our country's best moral and legal traditions - our most valuable weapons against terrorism.  In addition, closing the facility is a crucial component of America's overall counterterrorism approach.  Despite a  recent poll by CNN finding a drop in public support for closing the facility, which comes amidst politicization by extreme conservatives against the Obama administration's attempts to shut the facility down, both military leaders and national security experts from across the political spectrum agree that it is still crucial for Guantanamo Bay to be closed. 
More »
Terrorism & National Security

A Progressive Counterterrorism Approach Keeps America Safe

Report 11 March 2010
Yesterday, a number of senior counterterrorism officials and experts testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on U.S. efforts to combat extremism.  Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, stated that the "primary goal of countering violent extremism is to stop those most at risk of radicalization from becoming terrorists."  National security experts agree that a strategic and farsighted counterterrorism policy takes the fight to terrorists globally and gets results through military, intelligence and law-enforcement means. 
More »
Terrorism & National Security

Close Guantanamo: Powell and Petraeus Agree, Conservatives Politicize

Report 2 March 2010
Tomorrow, the Senate Armed Services Committee is holding a closed door hearing on progress toward the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, with Special Envoy for Guantanamo Bay Ambassador Daniel Fried and senior officials from the Departments of Defense, Justice, and the intelligence community. Closing the prison, which has become a recruiting tool for terrorists worldwide, is part of the Administration's broader counterterrorism strategy.
More »
Terrorism & National Security

Conservatives Take on Powell, Petraeus and Bush Administration

Report 22 February 2010
This weekend saw a continuation of two parallel trends.  First, Generals Colin Powell and David Petraeus continued the trend of America's top national security experts supporting the Obama administration's national security policies.  Powell and Petraeus expressed support for a range of policies including prosecuting terrorists through civilian trials, closing Guantanamo Bay, and ending the use of torture or "enhanced interrogation techniques." The annual meeting of the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) conference demonstrated the second trend: conservatives politicizing national security.
More »
Terrorism & National Security

Guantanamo Bay Must Be Closed to Keep America Safe

Report 22 January 2010
A year from the day the President pledged to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, a task force led by the Justice Department issued its recommendations on how to get the job done safely. Overheated conservative rhetoric and the legacy of the Bush administration's "sloppy" and incompetent handling of detainees have contributed to delays and obstacles.  But the facts laid out by military and intelligence leaders remain the same - closing the facility will make America safer.
More »
Terrorism & National Security

Closing Guantanamo Remains Vital to American Security

Report 7 January 2010

News that some detainees released by President Bush have returned to militant activity is a strong reminder of the persistent challenges America faces in dealing with terrorism.  But while this reminder should make us all vigilant, it does not change the national security imperatives for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. 

More »