National Security Network

Guantanamo Bay

Guantanamo Bay

Terrorism & National Security

Terrorists Finally Being Brought to Justice

Report 13 November 2009
Today, the Obama administration announced that five terrorists tied to the 9/11 attacks will be brought to justice in civilian courts. Our nation has a strong tradition of convicting some of the world’s worst terrorists in civilian courts. From the mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack to Zacarias Moussaoui—the "20th Hijacker"—to the shoe-bomber Richard Reid, our prison and court systems have a long track record of keeping our communities safe while bringing dangerous terrorists to justice. The Obama administration is applying the same record of success to the Mastermind of 9/11. In fact, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where these men will be tried, has a long track record of prosecuting terrorists, including Ramzi Yousef.
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Terrorism & National Security

Foreign Policy Sunday Blitz

Report 28 September 2009
After a week of intense international engagement, the administration’s top foreign policy officials hit the Sunday morning talk shows to discuss the difficult foreign policy decisions that lie ahead. Fareed Zakaria laid out the stakes for the Administration, taken together: “He wants to demonstrate at home that engagement does not make America weak.” This weekend, the President’s top advisors took on a number of serious issues: Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay – and confirmed that the Administration is moving forward with its core strategy of strength through engagement while carefully considering the implications of its policy decisions. On ABC’s ‘This Week’ Bob Woodward drew a contrast with the past: “As we all know from covering George W. Bush, all you had to do was find out what his gut was and then they would have meetings about how to implement what his gut was. In this case, I don’t think Obama has a gut, and he has opened the door very aggressively to other options, and they’re not going to be rushed.”
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Terrorism & National Security

Eight Years After 9-11

Report 11 September 2009
Eight years ago today America was attacked. Today we pause to look back and honor those who died as well as those who struggled and sacrificed to defend us on that day and ever since. As we look back, it is worth remembering how eight years ago the world rose united in grief and support, and how Americans rose to support each other and to turn new attention to foreign affairs. But this year, significant steps from the Obama administration have changed the way we fight terrorism – changes that are making us safer today and in the future, and once again inviting the world to stand beside us united.
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Terrorism & National Security

National Security Officials Rebuke Rep. Hoekstra for Politicizing Guantanamo Debate

Press Release 27 August 2009
As military and national security officials who have spent our entire careers fighting to protect the American people and the defend country from attack, we all agree that the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay needs to be closed.That is why we were disappointed last week—during a town hall meeting in Standish, MI, whose prison is a possible site to detain terror suspects —to hear you politicize such a critical national security issue and disseminate misrepresentations and exaggerations about closing Guantanamo and the possibility of housing terrorist suspects on American soil. In doing so, you spread fear in order to score political points, and perpetuate the Bush/Cheney era strategy of seeking political victories instead of doing what’s right to protect the country.
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Terrorism & National Security

While Obama Offers Solutions, Cheney Gives More Tortured Defense of Failed Policies

Report 25 August 2009
Yesterday brought more clarity on the failed interrogation and detention policies of the Bush administration—including new insight into the torture and abuse that permeated their prosecution of the “War on Terror.” But it also brought forward important reforms from the Obama administration: looking at best practices from professional interrogators in the FBI, CIA and elsewhere to create policies that will make America more secure and prevent abuses.
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Terrorism & National Security

Hoekstra Acknowledges Reality: US Prisons Can Hold Gitmo Detainees

Report 27 July 2009
On Friday, one of the GOP’s top national security voices in the House of Representatives, Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), contradicted the leadership of his own party by acknowledging the reality that U.S. prisons are capable of holding Guantanamo detainees. Leading conservatives have launched numerous political attacks over the last few months arguing that closing Guantanamo would bring terrorists into our backyards. These arguments, as President Obama said in May, are not “rational.”
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Terrorism & National Security

Obama's Methodical Approach to Closing Gitmo

Report 21 July 2009
The Administration has extended by six months the deadline for the completion of the task force review on U.S. detention policy – and reconfirmed its commitment to closing Guantanamo. While critics have said that this represents a setback in the effort to close Guantanamo and roll back the failed policies of the Bush administration, in fact it represents a much needed methodical approach. It is essential that the Obama administration takes the time to get the policy right in order to meet our security needs while respecting the rule of law. Despite the delay, the Obama administration insists that it is still on track to close Guantanamo by next January. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the administration was “100 percent committed” to closing the facility. Yet closing Guantanamo has proven difficult. The Obama administration inherited an absolute mess from the Bush administration, in which records were non-existent, detainees remained in legal limbo, and the entire process was ad hoc – resulting in abuse, denial of justice, as well as wrongful detentions. This has imperiled our national security by serving as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and staining America’s image around the world. It is understood in the military that, as Prussian Field Marshall Helmuth von Moltke famously said, “no plan survives first contact.” By extending the review, the Obama administration is intent on getting the policy right, closing Guantanamo, and engaging with reality – the opposite of the Bush administration’s failed approach.
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Terrorism & National Security

World Does Not End As Gitmo Detainee Finally Brought to Face Justice

Report 9 June 2009
Today Ahmed Ghailani, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, was brought to the United States to stand trial in the US court system.  Ghailani is facing charges for his role in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed over 224 people, including 12 Americans. Ghailani’s transfer from military custody to the Justice Department marks an important point in the process of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center.  But closing Guantanamo is not simply about restoring the image of America in the world’s eyes.
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Terrorism & National Security

A Consensus Has Emerged on Closing Gitmo - Yet Conservatives Remain At the Fringe

Report 27 May 2009
This past weekend, two of America’s foremost experts on defense and security issues came out in full support of the President’s plans to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.  General Petraeus, CENTCOM commander, said that the detention center hurts our ability to maintain the moral high ground, harms our counterinsurgency efforts and serves as a major terrorist recruiting tool.  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a career intelligence and defense official who has dealt with imprisoning terrorists for 20 years, said this past Monday that the U.S. has imprisoned terrorist suspects many times and conservative opposition amounted to “fear mongering.”  The statements from Petraeus and Gates reflect a growing consensus among former senior officials, military officers, and national experts that Guantanamo must be closed. Yet conservatives continue political attacks that argue that closing Guantanamo will bring terrorists into our backyard and that its symbolic damage to America’s image is irrelevant.
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