Durbin Chairs Hearing on Closing the Prison at Guantanamo Bay

Hearing is the First in the Senate Since 2009

[WASHINGTON, DC] Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today chaired a hearing to examine the national security, fiscal and human rights implications of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The hearing was the first on this issue in the Senate since 2009 and comes two months after President Obama’s May 23rd national security speech, in which he announced new steps towards the closure of Guantanamo.


“The President’s authority to close Guantanamo Bay has been limited by Congress. We have enacted restrictions on detainee transfers –including a ban on transfers to the United States – that make it nearly impossible to actually close the facility. It’s time to lift these restrictions and move forward with shutting down Guantanamo prison,” Durbin said. “The bottom line is that our national security and military leaders have concluded that the risk of keeping Guantanamo open far outweighs the risk of closing it because the facility continues to harm our alliances and serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists. It’s time to end this sad chapter of our history. 11 years is far too long. We need to close Guantanamo.”


The following witnesses testified on two panels: U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-WA); U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS); Major General Paul D. Eaton, United States Army (Ret.); Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D., United States Army (Ret.); Lieutenant Joshua M. Fryday, Judge Advocate General's Corps, United States Navy; Frank Gaffney, Founder and CEO, Center for Security Policy; and Elisa Massimino, President and Chief Executive Officer, Human Rights First.