Full Text Transcript:
“This is Missouri Senator Kit Bond.
“As the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, I understand that protecting the American people is the government’s highest priority and most important responsibility.
“And keeping our nation safe should not be a political issue, it’s an American one.
“I hope my colleagues in Congress keep that in mind over the next couple of weeks as we debate the troop funding bill.
“Guantanamo Bay – known as GITMO – doesn’t house middle-of-the-road, white-collar criminals.
“Instead, this detainee facility houses deadly terrorists, including 9-11-mastermind Khalid Sheihk Mohammed.
“While President Obama has no plan for what to do with these killers, he has pledged to close the terrorist-detention facility in January to fulfill a campaign promise.
“This is a dangerous case of putting symbolism over security.
“Or as I like to say – this is a classic example of a ‘READY, FIRE, AIM’ strategy.
“When it comes to national security decisions, I prefer aiming before shooting, which is why I keep calling on President Obama to tell us, the American people, how his plan to close Guantanamo will make our nation safer.
“The President needs to honor his pledge of transparency and provide the American people with answers.
“I think the American people have a right to know exactly what the White House plans to do with these terrorists.
“Americans also have a right to know if President Obama plans to send any of these terrorists to their communities.
“Any plan must answer these questions: Where will these men go? And will that make America safer?
“Now just last week the administration admitted that some of the terrorists could be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.
“Defense Secretary Gates testified before Congress that as many as 100 Guantanamo detainees could be transferred to the United States.
“Whether these terrorists are coming to a prison in Kansas, or a halfway house in Missouri, or any other state – I can tell you this:
“Americans don’t want these terrorists in their neighborhoods.
“That’s why when we put it to a vote, the Senate voted 94 to 3 against importing detainees to American soil – even if that meant to a maximum security prison.
“Americans also don’t want to send these terrorists back to the battlefield to kill our troops.
“And, we know that terrorists detained at Guantanamo and released have gone back to the fight.
“The Pentagon has confirmed that at least 18 detainees who were released have gone back to the fight. And, 43 more are suspected of doing the same.
“There are no easy solutions here. But, having no solution and moving forward with the closing [of] the prison at Guantanamo is a dangerous gamble with our security here at home and our troops abroad.
“I, for one, am not willing to gamble with our national security.
“Closing our terrorist-detention facility with no backup plan is one campaign promise that can’t hold up to national security realities.
“While the President has made closing Guantanamo Bay a priority, the highest priority must be keeping America safe.
“Thank you for listening.”
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