Wikileaks is releasing classified military documents detailing information obtained from terrorist suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay. The documents include information about the whereabouts and activities of terror suspects following the September 11, 2011 terror attacks.
Peter Bergen, CNN National Security analyst and author of “The Osama Bin Laden I Know" talks to Ali Velshi and Christine Romans.
A new report says two leaders of the Yemen terror cell that allegedly trained the Christmas Day bombing suspect were released from Guantanamo Bay prison in 2007. They are believed to have gone through a highly-scrutinized Saudi program that claims to rehabilitate former terrorists.
Christopher Boucek with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace joined us on Tuesday's American Morning to discuss if rehabilitation can work for former Guantanamo detainees.
The first terror detainee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba arrived in New York City yesterday to stand trial. Many from both parties don't want him or any other detainee here. The transfer is said by some to be a key test for President Obama's plan to have the prison camp closed within a year of taking office.
Cully Stimson is a former Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Detainee Affairs. He’s been to Gitmo several times. He spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.
John Roberts: This is being talked about by some people as a big test case for closing Guantanamo. Do you see it that way?
Cully Stimson: I don't, John. It's a unique case. Remember, he was indicted for his alleged involvement in the '98 East Africa bombings. His four co-conspirators have already been tried and convicted. So this is unique. This is not, as some are suggesting, a huge test case beginning a trend of removing detainees from Guantanamo to the United States. So I just see it as a one-off.
Roberts: So what is the significance of this case?
Stimson: It’s significant in the sense that it’s finishing up unfinished business from the '98 bombings. And so once you eliminate or move one detainee from Guantanamo somewhere else, that is one less person you have to deal with at Guantanamo. But it's finishing up unfinished business. Obviously he’s presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But this is a strong case.
President Obama wants to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He made that point clear yesterday during his speech at the National Archives.
“So the record’s clear - rather than keeping us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security. It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries.”
A short time after President Obama concluded his speech, former Vice President Dick Cheney addressed the American Enterprise Institute on national security and he offered some blistering rebuttals. He called the release of the Bush-era memos a reckless distraction and belittled Obama's decision to close Guantanamo "with little deliberation and no plan."
CNN Contributor Mary Matalin was an aide to the former vice president. She spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Friday.
John Roberts: The former vice president has said several times that the Obama administration's policies are making America less safe. Where's the evidence for that?
Mary Matalin: Common sense and history… It’s one thing to say all of the things Obama said on the campaign trail but within hours of being the actual commander in chief, he was suggesting the previous seven years marked by no attacks were policies that were ineffective, were immoral, were illegal. That broadcast to our enemies a weakness. Weakness invites provocation. Secondly, as he was clear in his speech yesterday, he wants to return to a 9/10 law enforcement policy rather than a prevention policy.
Three, the threshold and key tool for fighting this enemy is gathering intelligence. And he’s clearly demoralized and undermined those intelligence gatherers. Four, Gitmo, releasing the hardest of the hardened terrorists into some system, whatever system that might be, either would divulge classified material... if they put them in the prison population, they can hatch plots as was the case in New York. So I could go on and on. But some of these policies, by virtue of the former vice president speaking out, were stopped as in the release of the detainee photos.
President Obama's plan to shut down the detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba hit a major road block yesterday. The Senate voted 90-6 on a measure that would stop detainees from being transferred to the United States. It also voted Tuesday to withhold funds to close down the facility. Meanwhile, the president will lay out his plan to close Gitmo in a major national security speech today.
Majority Whip Senator Dick Durbin voted against blocking the funds. He spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday.
John Roberts: You voted against blocking the funds although you do share some of the concerns of many of your colleagues. Why did you decide to vote against it and what do you think about those concerns? Are they valid?
Dick Durbin: There are two provisions. One of them blocked the funds and I could have voted for that because the president's plan has not been presented to us. There’s no need to appropriate the money at this point until we have his plan for the future of Guantanamo. The second provision, though, the one that troubled me, said we couldn't have any of these Guantanamo detainees brought to the United States to be held in a security facility. You can't try a person for a crime in the United States without holding them in a security facility. So, some of those who could be prosecuted – even successfully prosecuted – couldn't be prosecuted under the language of that amendment.
Roberts: So that puts you at odds with Senate Leader Harry Reid who said yesterday he didn't want the transfer of any detainees to the United States?
Durbin: We have a different point of view. I happen to believe if they're brought here to be put on trial, they obviously need to be held in a secure facility during the course of the trial and perhaps incarcerated afterwards. Presently today, we have 348 convicted terrorists in the prisons of the United States of America, and a large percentage of them are from overseas. They're being held safely and securely with no threat to the American people. I do believe we have to look at the bottom line here. The president is right in saying Guantanamo is more than a detention facility. It's become a symbol. And sadly, it’s become an organizing tool around the world for terrorism. The sooner that we bring Guantanamo to a close, the better.