National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

Date: June 14, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WENSTRUP. Mr. Chairman, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility was established to hold unlawful enemy combatants captured during the war on terror.

Any proposal to close the Guantanamo detention facility must first clearly address the transfer of remaining prisoners detained there. Many of the remaining detainees are the most hardened terrorists, including those responsible for the 9/11 mass murders of many Americans.

There are three primary options: transfer to another country or transfer to the United States or stay put.

Transferring these terrorists to another country comes with a substantial risk of reengaging as an American threat. The current reengagement rate of former Guantanamo detainees is nearly 28 percent.

I served for 1 year in Iraq with the Army as a medical officer at one of the largest detention facilities there. Often after prison release deals made by entrusted decisionmakers, we saw the same people return for new offenses. Additionally, there were multiple escapes and attempted escapes, as well as attacks trying to free the detainees.

I've been to Guantanamo, and the facilities there are a safe and secure location away from our soldiers on the battlefield. I don't think there are many people in Cuba that are trying to free the people that are held at Guantanamo, and this was not the case in Iraq, and it may not be the case should they be transferred to the United States.

I believe the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are being treated appropriately and in a way that we can be proud of as a Nation. The hunger strike policy is carried out humanely with the detainees treated as patients. The access to caregivers and medical facilities is the same for our troops as it is for those detained.

Additionally, transfers to the United States would be very expensive. We've already built a courtroom there that cost us in the millions of dollars.

These terrorist detainees pose a very real danger to our security in America. They mean us real harm. The President has the ability to certify transfers of detainees to other countries, but he has yet to do so. And until the President leads with a better solution, I firmly believe that keeping Guantanamo open is our best option, our safest option, and our most logical option.