Ex-NSA chief on closing Gitmo

Former NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden on the White House's plans to close Gitmo and terrorism.

Fmr. NSA Chief Hayden's Take On Closing Guantanamo Bay

By Politics

During an interview on Cavuto: Coast to Coast, former NSA Director General Michael Hayden expressed some concern over President Obama’s plan to transfer detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay to locations in America.

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“I am more concerned about legal ramifications here,” he said. “One legal ramification is what additional rights and privileges will these people accrue because of the very fact of geography? That they’re no longer in Guantanamo in Cuba, but they’re over here in the United States. How much more difficult would that make circumstances for the U.S. government?"

He added, “The president says we’re at war with al-Qaeda. He believes that we are at war with al-Qaeda, otherwise he would not be out there killing people the way he has authorized killings which I strongly, strongly support."

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Hayden continued: “One of the elements of making war is to actually capture people and hold them. Not for the criminal justice system, but hold them under the laws of armed conflict. We have a right to do that. We have not done that in over seven years. As part of this arrangement I want our government to fully and publicly embrace the fact that we reserve the right to grab enemy combatants and hold them whether or not we ever intend to put them into a court.”

The former NSA director said he ultimately understands why the president wants to bring the detainees to U.S. soil.

“He [Obama] has made a political promise – I get that. We will see if Congress allows them to keep it.”

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He added, “I would really strongly prefer to do this without a constitutional crisis. I would rather do this by consensus. Let’s parse out what we’ve got here. The president has made the argument that we need to do this because it’s a recruiting magnet for ISIS. Frankly, I don’t think that’s true. In fact, I don’t think it was ever very true and it’s certainly not true now.”

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