The Kansas Republican defended the military’s decision to force-feed more than 40 detainees taking part in a hunger strike at the facility that’s grown to more than 100 prisoners.
Medical and human rights groups have disagreed, and Kessler cited them in concluding in her opinion that the force-feedings were a “painful, humiliating, and degrading process.”
Pushing back against the Obama administration’s new efforts to try to close the facility, Pompeo defended the need for Guantánamo as a national security and intelligence tool.
“There’s a reason the president’s promise to close Guantánamo has not occurred,” Pompeo said, adding that Obama has run into the reality that indefinite detention is necessary in the war on terror.
He argued that closing Guantánamo or effectively moving it onto U.S. soil presents national security risks, including putting a target on the back of whatever community the prison is located in and risking allowing terrorists to be released by the U.S. judicial system.
Opponents of the prison have argued that those concerns are unfounded, pointing to the hundreds of terrorists currently already locked up in U.S. prisons.
Since Obama said he would try to fulfill his first-term promise to close the prison, Congress has rejected any attempts to move in that direction. The House has voted against allowing funds to be used to move the prisoners to the U.S., and it voted to effectively stop any transfers to Yemen, something Obama said he wants to resume.
In the Senate, the Armed Services Committee included provisions in its Defense authorization bill to ease transfer restrictions. But those were not debate during the committee mark-up, and will surely be a target of Republicans when the bill heads to the floor.