Transcript: Remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein on closing Guantanamo – July 24, 2013

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on “Closing Guantanamo: The National Security, Fiscal and Human Rights Implications.” The hearing was held before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights on July 24, 2013.

…I was at Guantanamo about a month ago with John McCain and the President’s Chief of Staff.

We’ve been looking at the figures – the cost, and apparently they’re much higher than we’d thought.

If the new costs are correct, the cost of the facilities – $554.1 million in 2013, and as Sen. [Patrick] Leahy said, that’s $2.67 million per detainee. I want to point out that to keep a prisoner in maximum security in our federal system is $78,000. So this is a massive waste of money.

A month ago when I was there, there were 166 inmates, most have been there for a decade or more – 10 years with no hope, no trial, no charge. These 166 detainees [sic] are slated for trial while 46 others will be held without trial until the war against terror is over, whatever that may be. Eighty-six of them – more than half – have been cleared for transfer by either the Bush or Obama administration; nonetheless, they remain in dismal conditions and legal limbo.

By the end of President Obama’s second term, the majority of Guantanamo detainees there today will have been held without trial for almost 15 years.

I would submit that this is not the American way. I would submit that Guantanamo has been a recruiting tool for terrorist. It makes a myth out of our legal system and it really ought to be closed.

We saw the hopelessness. We saw when we were there 70 detainees were undergoing a hunger strike. Twice a day, American military personnel restrains the detainee in a chair by his arms, torso, and feet. A tube is inserted into the nose and into the stomach. And for some detainees this has been going on for five months, twice a day…

This large scale forced feeding and this behavior is a form of protest. It’s not an attempt at suicide. I believe it violates international norms and medical ethics. At Guantanamo, it happens day after day and week after week.

So I find this unacceptable. I believe the facility should be closed. I believe all of these people can be transferred to high-security facilities in this country and that that is the proper thing to do…


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