GOP senator: Guantanamo a ‘top-rate’ facility


Three Republican senators reiterated their stance on Tuesday against closing the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base following a visit last week that they said showed the “professionalism” at the “top-rate” facility.

“I’m very proud of the work done by our men and women in uniform who serve there,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). “Their professionalism and the way that they conduct themselves made all of us proud. This is a top-rate detention facility that is being conducted in a humane, legal and under-the-law-of-war detention.”

{mosads}Ayotte, who is facing a tough reelection campaign against New Hampshire’s Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, traveled to Guantanamo on Friday with Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

Their visit comes shortly after a Pentagon team wrapped up a trip to Colorado to inspect two facilities there for potentially transferring Guantanamo detainees.

Scott, who was vocal when the Pentagon did a similar inspection at the Naval Consolidated Brig in his home state, said the Colorado sites under consideration also put Americans at risk.

“The fact is that we built a world-class, one-of-a-kind facility in a remote location hundreds of miles away surrounded mostly by water and deserts and mountains for a reason — to keep them isolated,” he said. “There is no location domestically that can provide the same type of isolation.”

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — which President Obama vetoed, but Republicans are hoping to override — continues the ban on transferring detainees to the United States.

But Obama is pushing to keep his 2008 campaign promise to close the facility, transferring those who are eligible to foreign countries and inspecting domestic sites for the potential to house detainees who can’t be transferred abroad.

Ayotte said Obama should not continue to oppose the NDAA over Guantanamo language that is similar to what it has been in the past. Obama’s other issue with the NDAA — budget allocations — appears to be addressed in the budget deal announced Monday.

“The administration has always — even when Democrats were in charge and Republicans were in charge — has always complained about the provisions in the defense authorization about Guantanamo,” she said.

“I would hope that Guantanamo doesn’t become a barrier given that the bill that was passed by overwhelming votes in the Senate and a very large vote margin in the House really reflects, I think, what the viewpoint is here on Guantanamo.”

Tags Guantánamo Bay Kelly Ayotte Shelley Moore Capito Tim Scott

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