WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement supporting President Obama’s commitment to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay.
“As Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it is evident that we need to do more to counter ISIL’s messaging and finally closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay will deny terrorist organizations a powerful recruiting and propaganda tool. The intransigence of some in Congress — those who are opposed to trying terrorists in U.S. civilian courts or detaining them in the most secure prisons within the United States — allows this blight on America’s human rights record and drain on our budget to continue. We in the Senate, and our colleagues in the House, need to change course and give the Department of Defense’s plan a fair hearing; it is in our national security interest and in the interest of the American taxpayers who are paying many millions per prisoner each year we keep GTMO running. We must work with the president to shutter the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay as quickly as possible, ending this dark chapter in American history. Continued delay will not help us in our fight against the terrorists who attacked us and those who support them, and continued delay will not restore our leadership position among nations.
“I was pleased to support President Obama in 2009 when he voiced a clear policy that would set us on a path toward closing GTMO. The decision made us stronger as a nation and it strengthened our relationships with our allies. We told the world that the rule of law was once again paramount in the U.S. and that we, as a nation, will abide by our international obligations. Closing this facility is a complicated matter that can and should be done in a way that respects the rule of law and American values, and keeps our citizens from harm.”