Hoeven Reviews Guantanamo Bay Military Base, Calls for Continued Operation of Detention Facility

Hoeven To Cosponsor Legislation Retaining Detention Facility, Military Tribunals

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said the Administration should discontinue its plan to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility for enemy combatants, saying he will cosponsor legislation in the U.S. Senate to ensure the facility’s continued operation. Hoeven’s remarks came following a trip to the base Monday with Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas and Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri who toured the base and detention center to evaluate its operation and effectiveness. 

“We are fighting a war on terror, and we need a secure place to house enemy combatants,” Hoeven said. “We need a facility where detainees can be properly interrogated. This is vitally important to prosecute the war effectively, protect our men and women in uniform and defend our country.” 

Hoeven said detainees should be tried by military tribunals, rather than in civil courts on the mainland. He cited the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a chief lieutenant to Osama Bin Laden, and a principal planner of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon, as well as attacks in Bali, Indonesia, the 1993 Twin Towers bombing and many other terrorist attacks around the world. 

When the Justice Department proposed trying Mohammed in a U.S. District Court in New York the cost was estimated at $75 million, far more than the cost of using military tribunals, and it posed serious security issues, Hoeven said. 

The Senator also cited the upcoming trial by military tribunal of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was the mastermind behind the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in October 2000 in Yemen, in which Technician 2nd Class Kevin Shawn Rux of Portland, N.D., was killed.

Hoeven announced he is cosponsoring legislation introduced by Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire that establishes Guantanamo as the permanent location for detaining, interrogating and trying detainees; limits the transfer of detainees to foreign countries; and prohibits funding for the creation or construction of terrorist detention facilities in the United States.    

 “I have been there and have seen how the military is managing the center in a professional and effective way,” Hoeven said. “They have the proper facilities to house detainees and give them a fair trial through the military tribunals.”

Hoeven Guantanamo

Sen. John Hoeven and Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harbeson, commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo Mission, discuss how the military is managing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility following a tour of the base facilities and operations on Monday, June 13, 2011.