Senate blocks Gitmo closing … again
posted at 3:31 pm on November 30, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
If you missed this last night, you’re not alone; hardly anyone seemed to notice that the Democratic-controlled Senate just blocked Barack Obama’s first-day decree to close the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center … again. A measure sponsored by Sen. Kelly Ayotte gained 54 votes and passed late last night that prevents any funding from being used to transfer Gitmo detainees to the US:
The Senate has passed a measure that prevents terrorist detainees from being transferred to facilities on U.S. soil, a day after it was revealed a prominent Democrat had commissioned a federal report to identify U.S. locations that may be suitable for housing Guantanamo prisoners.
The measure, which was introduced by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., was approved by a vote of 54 to 41 late Thursday.
Carl Levin warned that Obama would veto the measure, but that wasn’t enough to keep some Democrats eyeballing their 2014 chances from making sure they went on the record as supporting Ayotte:
Current law denies suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens seized within the nation’s borders, the right to trial and subjects them to the possibility they would be held indefinitely. It reaffirms the post-Sept. 11 authorization for the use of military force that allows indefinite detention of enemy combatants.
Several Democrats vulnerable in the 2014 elections voted with Republicans on Ayotte’s measure.
The Boss Emeritus warns of a culture-of-corruption subtext to the effort to close Gitmo in her column today:
The first White House maneuver took place in October, while much of the public and the media were preoccupied with election news. On Oct. 2, Obama’s cash-strapped Illinois pals announced that the federal government bought out the Thomson Correctional Center in western Illinois for $165 million. According to Watchdog.Org, a recent appraisal put the value of the facility at $220 million.
Democratic Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin led the lobbying campaign for the deal, along with Illinois Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn, who is overseeing an overall $43 billion state budget deficit and scraping for every available penny. The Thomson campus has been an empty Taj Mahal for more than a decade because profligate state officials had no money for operations. Economic development gurus (using the same phony math of federal stimulus peddlers) claim the newly federalized project will bring in $1 billion.
Sen. Durbin told a local Illinois paper that “the decision to move ahead came directly from President Barack Obama” and that he had secured the green light during a discussion on Air Force One earlier in the spring. But this gift to Obama’s Illinois homeboys wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill campaign favor.
Obama’s unilateral and unprecedented decision steamrolled over bipartisan congressional opposition to the purchase. That opposition dates back to 2009, when the White House first floated the idea of using Thomson to house jihadi enemy combatants detained in Cuba. As you may recall, the scheme caused a national uproar. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department’s budget, blocked the administration from using unspent DOJ funds for the deal. With bipartisan support, Congress passed a law barring the transfer of Gitmo detainees to Thomson or any other civilian prison.
The message was clear: Taxpayers doesn’t want manipulative Gitmo detainees or their three-ring circuses of transnationalist sympathizers and left-wing lawyers on American soil. Period.
Fox’s Bill Hemmer interviews former four-star General Jack Keane, a Vice Chief of Staff under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to discuss the wisdom of closing Gitmo. Keane reminds viewers that these are not criminals but illegal enemy combatants in war — and that the length of the war hasn’t been our choice.