Rep. DeSantis: Bringing Gitmo Detainees to U.S. 'Creates a Whole Host of Problems,' Including Judges

By Susan Jones | September 8, 2015 | 6:59am EDT
President Obama has insisted since taking office that the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be closed. (AP File Photo)

( - President Obama won't close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without a fight in Congress.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) is the latest lawmaker to warn about moving these foreign enemies to military prisons in the United States.

"When I was on active duty in the Navy several years ago, I actually served in Guantanamo for a time," DeSantis told Fox News on Monday. He noted that the number of detainees has dwindled over the years, "and there's really no doubt that everybody who is in that detention facility is a threat.

"Now, when you bring them to the United States, I think you're creating security issues. Guantanamo is one of the most secure facilities you could have. But you are also going to run into legal problems because, if there are any federal facilities on U.S. soil, there will be judges who are going to issue a writ of habeas corpus, and you either got to take them to trial or you got to release them at that time.

"So I think this creates a whole host of problems. And Congress, I think on a bipartisan basis, will oppose removing terrorists from Guantanamo and bringing them to the United States."

DeSantis said it would endanger Americans to try the detainees in American courts:

"The problem with that is that these guys were not common criminals. They were picked up on the battlefield in places like Tora Bora in Afghanistan. And so we don`t have CSI teams out there in the middle of combat. You capture, you kill people who you're fighting.

"And when you capture people, you detain them and they're detained because they're a security risk to the country. I don't want to set a precedent where the people that we capture in wartime end up in an Article 3 court and you have got to convict them beyond a reasonable doubt, because guess what? That's going to require our service member to have to go out in the middle of a hostile fire zone and collect evidence. And that is not what we want them to do. It would actually cost American lives."

As for the argument that keeping detainees at Gitmo costs too much, DeSantis said those costs would come down if there were fewer "luxuries."

"Well, look, I'm all about cutting those costs. It`s amazing. When you`re down there, these guys get three halal meals a day. They get all these things, and I think that a lot of those are luxuries. I don`t think you need to do that. I think you can cut back on the expenditures, but just keep in mind the way they`re calculating that is not exactly honest, because we have a system in the United States that is already running.

This had to be set up because of exigent circumstances with the war on terrorism. But I can tell you this. You will need to spend more money in the United States to beef up the security, because if those detainees are being moved around our country, that will attract people to potentially commit terrorist acts."

About 52 of the 116 current Gitmo detainees have been cleared for release to third countries that agree to take them. The remaining 64 are too dangerous to release, according to the Defense Department.

Also See:
Ash Carter: 'If It's Not Gitmo, Then It's Gotta Be Somewhere Else' -- in the USA

Obama tries another push to close Guantanamo Bay prison

Sen. Graham: 'It Is Insane to Be Letting These People Out of Gitmo'

Hagel: Gitmo Detainees 'Are There for a Reason'

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