tv Hearing on Guantanamo Bay Transfers to the U.S. CSPAN May 1, 2016 1:34pm-2:21pm EDT
chairman: all right, everybody, we reconvene, the chair asks that the lady sit in and is so ordered, and the chair introduces the second panel and it will be a little out of order. we start with michael bouchard, is that correct? he oversees oakland county and oversees an annual budget of over $140 million. sheriff bou is testifying our behalf ofc the law enforcement agency ofhard representing
counties or parishes with a population of 500,000 or more. each representative represents 108 americans. mr. ken gude is a senior fellow at the center for american progress. previously, he was a policy analyst at the center for national security studies. at this point, the chair yields to the gentlelady of kansas. mrs. jenkins: thank you, mr. chairman, for allowing me this great opportunity for introducing mr. thompson, the leavenworth district attorney. mr. thompson is a kansan in every sense of the word. he is a leavenworth native and his family dates back 150 years in leavenworth. he went on to graduate and wash university school of law, his
knowledge in the impact that a detainee transfer would have on leavens worth and the entire region is part of his investigation as a top law enforcement official and he has context and insight into this process. i thank him for taking his time to come to washington to sit before the subcommittee to answer questions. i have full faith in his ability and he will help congress and the president, i think, better understand the implications and the repercussions of such a transfer. thank you, mr. chairman, and i yield back. chairman: the chair recognizes the gentlelady, mrs. jenkins. the chair recognizes mr. bouchard for an opening statement. mr. bouchard: thank you mr. chair, and distinguished members of the committee.
i am michael bouchard of oakland county and i run one of the largest sheriff's offices in the nation. often times, the head of law enforcement is not notified of ahead of time. despite years of conversation about opening get mo, no signal point has this administration requested our viewpoint on this. we are adamantly opposed to any effort to close gitmo and transfer detainees to u.s. soil. we have evolved in the encryption of media and propaganda, lone wolf attacks and recruitment, and we have seen it has exponentially grown. security of the homeland cannot
be an afterthought. we proactively plan and practice for the and thinkable. after the attacks in mumbai, i contacted all of the chiefs in my ao are and i asked them to talk about this on a regular basis for just such as scenario. this could be a powerful inspiration for a lone wolf attacker and for recruitment. we know that isis has gone so far to suggest targets, including a kill list with home addresses. clearly this could easily the added to such a list. recruitment is ongoing and a big concern. the same standards that are applied to federal detainees must be applied to quantize low. going back to 2003, there was a testimony before senate that said we know that inmates are
vulnerable to recruitment by terrorists. in 2015, there was 30% of former gitmo prisoners who were confirmed or suspected of being back in terrorism. additionally, a few months ago, iraq authorities arrested isis affiliates. with high recidivism and proclivity for violence, releasing detainees is counterintuitive, even in the increased threat environment, and law enforcement has continue asked to do more with less. we have not been given the life-saving equipment associated with transferring detainees to the u.s. programs that were to address the capabilities, however, over the years we have seen a steady decline in funding. most recently, in president
obama's budget cut, it was cut by 45%. the federal surplus program and grant program are great examples of partnership with local communities. through executive action and not legislation, this administration recalled 1033 military equipment and put burdensome requirements on others. on the day of the san bernardino terrorist attack, police in san bernardino called the terrorists and they came prepared the day. america became less prepared because of an executive order. gitmo houses detainees and putting them in u.s. italy's would present an extraordinary
burden on the local community. sheriff mcmahon, a local friend of mine in san bernardino, has acquired in overtime bill at a $19 billion expenditure. when emergencies arise, federal officials in emergencies are not the first responders. it is the locals. they must betrayed and equipped to deal with every situation. bring people here will necessitate that expenditure. that means significant planning, training, and equipment, and all of these unreimbursed costs have been ignored in so-called cost saving efforts. this would be a local responsibility and cost as would escape. we have always been thought to be a positive source of collaboration and ideas and we applaud the community for hearing our thoughts. as to chairman, thank you for your time and i would be happy to answer questions. chairman: the chair thanks the gentleman and the chair
recognizes mr. gude, correction, we will go ahead with your description. mr. gude: thank you, mr. chairman, and i know you are an iraq war veteran. i think it is incredibly important to spend time talking about the facts associated with the implications of bringing 100 detainees into the united states. first, i want to say i do agree with president obama in closing guantanamo would be in the best interest of the united states. this was a broadly-shared views from senior officials and national security officials in both parties in 2007, 2008, and 2009.
george w. bush wrote about the necessity of closing guantanamo. there were a host of other high-ranking officials that agreed with the necessity of closing it. colon powell reiterated this year just how necessary it was. i want to go and express my sincere disappointment that you would so casually impugned the integrity of our military officers and men and women serving in the pentagon that they would be presenting what there is not their full judgment to this at the restoration. it is in the national security interest of the united states in closing guantanamo. i think you all an apology and i think when you were serving, you would not let that cloud your judgment and i feel like that kind of comment is indicative of why it is so difficult to have a reasoned debate and a reasoned
analysis of this issue. it is a critical national security issue. they'll looking and assessing and whether or not guantanamo the cheney's and international terrorists would be inside u.s. prisons or secured military prisons, we don't have to speculate. we have the wisdom of experience. i think it would surprise everybody here in this room, i think it would surprise everybody watching on tv, everybody following this debate, that it was a republican president who brought a terrorist into the united states. it is unclear to me why that was not the same kind of incredible security risk that governor haley and the members of this committee seemed to indicate it was in the first panel when he was held in charleston for the first two years. also, jose padilla, the man accused of trying to detonate a
bomb in the united states. there were no protestations from governor sanford to the bush administration or to congress that those detainees in charleston represented the kind of security risk that we discussed this morning. the notion of that in 2002 this attack meant that we face somehow a lesser threat than we do now i find very hard to believe. and the detainees in trouble and are not the only ones. we have at least 11 states and the district of columbia where we have terrorists in maximum-security prisons and secure facilities. according to the ranking member's opening statement, just
15 miles from now, the accused leader of the benghazi attack is sitting in prison awaiting trial. he has been there for over two years, there has been no protests, there has been no controversy, but the notion of bringing guantanamo detainees into the states in a very similar situations presents not acceptable risk is hard for me to understand and hard for me to fathom. i would just close with one last comment regarding the implications for state and local officials. there is emergency response planning that these individuals have to deal with on a day to day basis with almost every eventuality. the notion that pentagon officials and the officials in the cities and states of south carolina and kansas have not been prepared strikes me as hard to believed, because there could
be quantized road detainees there now as there were guantanamo detainees there years before and we changed the fact that we have already done these kinds of plans. with that, i will conclude my opening statements and i look forward to your questions. thank you. chairman: the chair in a recognizes mr. thompson for his statement. mr. thompson: esteemed committee, i would like to first think our veterans as well as those who have worked in guantanamo bay. i would also like to thank our law enforcement officers in giving me this opportunity to speak today. today i speak on behalf of leavenworth and i thank you for that opportunity. i look at the impact this would have on communities, particularly lemons worth. today i want to focus on the issues of concern, first, the lack of indication by the obama ministration.
second, the indications to the kansas city metro area if the detainees were transferred there, and third, i would like to talk about the locations to the mission of love is worth. as the county attorney, i am the chief prosecuting officer and must assure the safety and welfare of our community. it is important for me to have as much information as possible in regarding to the community's safety. the government has failed to share any information with local officials. without this information, my community has no way to prepare for the economic burden or the potential threats it may receive for housing detainees from guantanamo bay. fresh from attacks of san bernardino and brussels, we remain on guard for terrorist attacks. we would become a high priority attack for terrorist.
in 1997, a convicted perpetrator of the 1993 world trade center bombings was housed in leavens worth. we received several letter bombs. our own law enforcement as well as national law enforcement had to spend significant resources to respond to this threat. to build a new facility in fort leavenworth, it would cost $91 million and take three years, and that is in comparison with the previous facility that was built 10 years ago. paul lewis at the department of defense and the special envoy for the closure of guantanamo bay said that any facility would require adequate medical facilities. for leavenworth does not have these such facilities. the closest facilities are the university of kansas medical center, which is roughly 45 minutes away. there would be significant safety concerns if the detainees
would need to be trans-for their further care. there are roadways that are less than a chip shot away from the border. there is a railroad that carries hazardous materials. if it were necessary to shutdown, it would cost the community $100 million worth of revenue per day. there is an airport shared by my community that would be rendered useless for a no-fly zone required such as that guantanamo bay requires right now. if deemed necessary to fortify the fort's borders, families that surround the areas that owned it before kansas was even a state would have to lose their land to eminent domain. the county is home to over 75,000 residents. because the fort leavenworth is there, approximately 20,000
veterans residing in and around the leavenworth community area, and many of those serving in afghanistan and iraq. some of them suffer from ptsd as well as serious injuries from their tours of service. gold star members have families buried just yards away from the disciplinary barracks. how would this affect these people, psychologically? finally, fort leavenworth has the command of the general officers, powell and eisenhower among the attendees. our officers, as well as international officers, bring their families to our community, which is a significant economic benefit to our area. president obama wants guantanamo bay closed because of our economic connection with cuba. this would impact losing
relationships with international officers and this could have a long-term effect on our foreign relations. putting it frankly and from a friend of mine, placing the detainees in fort leavenworth would be similar to building a prison on harvard yard. i look forward to answer questions from you and the committee. chairman: the chair thanks mr. thompson for his testimony, the chair now recognizes himself for five minutes of questioning. regarding the san bernardino terrorist attack, how much would it be? mr. bouchard: $350,000 in extended overtime. chairman: $350,000 in overtime and 90 million dollars in unexpected costs to the local government and as i recall, you
said unreimbursed costs, right? so the federal government had to go back and take care of the local community that has bared the burden of the terrorist attacks that some have said that all agencies are prepared to handle and deal with at any time and we understand that law enforcement does every single thing it can, but we understand we are all human and they only have to be right one time, right? i guess what we are saying is that every community has to be prepared for $350,000 in overtime at minimum and up to $90 million in unexpected costs for a local attack. am i correct sir? mr. bouchard: yes. chairman: mr. gude, i don't owe anybody an apology. have you ever served in the
military? have you ever served at the pleasure of the commander and chief? no? period, period. we offer our opinions, however, once the commander in chief gives orders, our job is to salute, and if you had ever worn the uniform, if you had ever served, you would know that. moving on -- mr. gude: [indiscernible] chairman: like i said, moving on. how would you know about the national security strategy?
mr. gude: i have frequently read the national security -- chairman: frequently, frequntly? mr. gude: many times, it is part of my job. chairman: do you know the strategy isn't updated to concur with current event and evolving events, right? mr. gude: the national security strategy has been updated two times in this administration. chairman: and you have read both? mr. gude: yes. chairman: ok, what background do you have, what professional background do you have, other than working at the center for 13 years now, what professional background, training, etc., do you have in military and national strategic studies, what have you? what background do you have other than working at the location? mr. gude: i have a professional background -- chairman: but what does that mean?
what training do you have? mr. gude: i have been following these issues and i have been deeply involved in the -- chairman: many of other americans have as well but they don't come before congress and testify. many americans are concerned but i am asking if you have any law-enforcement training? mr. gude: no. chairman: military training? mr. gude: no. chairman: diplomatic training? mr. gude: i don't know what that is. chairman: it is specific training in diplomatic relations. mr. gude: no. chairman: i am looking at your own testimony here where you say for these reasons, a long bipartisan list of national security figures do not believe guantanamo advances national security interest. i can tell you that a whole lot of people have served to have training whether they are law enforcement or national security
or whether in the diplomatic court they disagree, so with all due respect while i appreciate your opinion and many of us do and we asked you here for your alternative opinion and quite frankly, i'm not sure it is an informed opinion and we appreciate that. let me a you this. i asked some folks recently -- let me ask you this. i asked some folks recently about a similar subject, a special envoy for guantanamo closure and a special envoy for guantanamo detention closure and both of those individuals said numerous things like you do about it is a magnet for recruiting and guantanamo is and that it -- it -- it hurts our national security, it hurts us to have it there, and i ask, what empirical data do you have to support that? what empirical data do you have to support the claim that moving
these individuals to south carolina or anywhere in the middle united states would have a difference? would make any difference? these individuals provided me no empirical data of cost or otherwise. can you provide any at this time? mr. gude: there was one of the most famous cases during the bush administration, there was an interrogator, a military interrogator from iraq, reported at the time that the number one recruitment tool that al qaeda in iraq was using to draw individuals into their ranks with the existence of guantanamo bay and that it was clear and it was persuasive and it persuaded not people just like me, but people like: powell, people like jim bakker, people like the president of the united states, george w. bush, john mccain, you can impugn my credentials all you want, but i think you will have a harder time of impugning their credentials. chairman: it is my job to
question and by the way, i don't understand and you haven't told me how it makes any difference whether it is in guantanamo or south carolina? can you tell me a difference? mr. gude: guantanamo is a symbol of the torture and abuse that occurred during the bush and ministry and in that prison and in other prisons. is not simply propaganda against guantanamo and it is not simply associate with the fact that there are military detainees there. there is nothing wrong with that. there was a no propaganda associated with the charleston naval barracks -- chairman: so when we moved these prisoners to south carolina and the propaganda moves to south carolina, that would then justify and validate the governor's concerns -- mr. gude: i don't think there is a way to validate that -- chairman: you have any way to show?
i am talking about three, all of them, all in that location, all in the focus of international terrorism. mr. gude: i understand that is your opinion and that would follow -- chairman: i am not talking about my opinion, i am asking if you have any evidence. mr. gude: there is no evidence -- chairman: thank you, at this point i yield the questions to the general me, mr. richmond. mr. richmond: based on history, because you can only use history to predict the future, based on history, when south carolina contained and held three, was any propaganda targeted at south carolina? mr. gude: no. mr. richmond: thank you. mr. thompson, you mentioned in your testimony and i'm trying to relate this altogether that the lack of military equipment and the 1033 program causes some concern for housing detainees?
mr. bouchard: this causes us great concern because we believe it is about the focus of perception and not reality. mr. richmond: so you think it was perception that some of our police forces were being militarized and going into urban neighborhoods? mr. bouchard: i am saying that the perception has been fostered and that the police have been militarized is wrong. that and armored tank pulls up to a bank or grocery store every day to give money and a police vehicle shows up with the same armored vehicle, somehow it is scary or militarized, it is false. that is there to protect people. mr. richmond: i understand, but
when a tank is going through an urban neighborhood -- mr. bouchard: we have no tanks. we have armored vehicles with no weaponized -- that is part of the misperception. there are no armored tanks in america. armored personnel carriers. mr. richmond: we are just going to agree to disagree on that and i think that one of the things, especially in the petrochemical industry, that is one of the things that my sheriffs ask for. i'm just trying to figure how we made that connection. you also mentioned there is a high recidivism rate with guantanamo prisoners. what is the recidivism rate? who was released at how often do they recommit a crime? mr. bouchard: there has been a number of studies. the most recent one that i had read that said there was 30% of guantanamo detainees returning to the battlefield.
can i comment on that one? mr. richmond: sure, but what is the recidivism rate at the largest u.s. prison under your jurisdiction? mr. bouchard: depends on the crime. mr. richmond: no, no, no, no. but let me ask a question, because i was on the judiciary committee and and everyone knows the general recidivism rate of their local prisons. mr. bouchard: the point that i wish to make -- mr. richmond: don't you run a local jail? mr. bouchard: i do, it depends on the jail, typically it runs between 30% to 60%. mr. gude: these figures, i think they must be properly assessed by bringing them down between the detainees that were released from guantanamo during the bush administration and the detainees released from guantanamo during
the obama administration and the reason that is is that the obama administration had determined a substantial process to determine whether it was proper or not to release the detainee. now in order to be released, it is the unanimous decision of the senior national security officials and then it also further requires the secretary of defense to certify that an individual, the security arrangements with the individual or secured to help keep americans safe and what we have learned is that this process has worked. 94% of the detainees who have been either confirmed or suspected of rejoining the fight were released during the bush administration. a tiny number of detainees that have been accused or confirmed to retrain the fight were released under the current administration. mr. richmond: mr. thompson, let
me -- look, this is very difficult for subject, and i understand being an elected official and i think all of the witnesses on the republican side are elected and when elected because of different spots ability, but let me ask you a question. would you just be in favor of closing the general prison facility we have in leavenworth now? mr. thompson: no, i would not be in favor of closing the facility. that would have an undue process on our economy. when talking with officials, detainees coming from guantanamo would create a very serious concern. especially to the detainees that we are a house at fort leavenworth. mr. richmond: it is for minimum, well, i guess minimal security? mr. thompson: correct. mr. richmond: so you are ok with
the economic development and the jobs that are created by housing minimum, but you just want to go to ask him for a few detainees are several detainees from guantanamo? mr. thompson: i'm in leavenworth. i mean, we are known for prisons. we are known to be able to house prisoners. except these prisoners are much different than any of the others we have seen or have seen. they are 80 of the worst that we know of. there is a specific reason why there at guantanamo bay and we would not want them in fort leavenworth or leavenworth for the effects it would have on our community and honor citizens. not even the economic concerns, well, including the economic concerns, but including the psychological concerns it would have to all of our veterans, our goldstar family members, and anyone else out there. if i could also address mr. gude who is talking about the symbolism of guantanamo bay and the reason for its closure, that simple is him is something president obama has used for the
example of why it should be closed, but that is not good to dissipate with it being closed. that is going to stay with it. we don't forget about 9/11 even though these structures have now been built over where the old ones have fallen. we are going to continue to have that burden and we are going to have to worry about that threat. i would also reiterate that mr. gude's own written statements in january 2016 said symbolism is fading. mr. richmond: thanks the gentleman. chairman: we now recognize that a moment from south carolina. mr. duncan: what year was the 9/11 attacks on new york? mr. gude: 2001. mr. duncan: you are talking about detaining people in charleston. what year was that? mr. gude: 2002. mr. duncan: what year was this committee formed? mr. gude: 2004. mr. duncan: what i'm showing is
that we had to begin prosecuting a war against those who attacked us. would we captured enemy combatants on the battlefield, we had to figure out what to do with them, correct? mr. gude: yes. mr. duncan: the homeland had to figure how we were going to respond to terrorist attacks on our soil. we created a brand-new committee within the halls of congress to continually talk about the security of the homeland. for your information, the recidivism rate or the number of detainees the return to the battlefield is at about 30%. it doesn't matter if they were released from the bush administration or the obama administration. how many terrorists went to the chattanooga detainment facility? mr. gude: one.
mr. duncan: 1, 1, it only takes one to kill a large number of americans in the world. whether they are released by bush or release by obama, it only takes one to commit heinous acts of terrorism against americans. so we know the dod study said that 30% of those released regardless of who released them have returned to the battlefield. i would argue that american lives have been lost because they returned to the battlefield. your argument that bush released more and more returned to the battlefield just doesn't hold water. italy takes one terrorist to do that. mr. thompson, you heard governor haley talk about doing an assessment and we know it august they did a site assessment at fort leavenworth. what kind of communication have a had with you? mr. thompson: representative duncan, they have had no
conversation with myself or no or little conversation with our city, or local law enforcement or officials. mr. duncan: she and governor brownback sent a letter asking for this, correct? mr. thompson: correct. there are 80 detainees who could potentially becoming. we don't know who of those 80 are coming. there are 44 that cannot be released at all and then there are 10 or seven that are being prosecuted and three have been convicted. are we getting the seven? are we getting the three? are we getting the four? are we getting the 27? we don't know. we have no idea because we are not being talked to and that is one of the things that i would want and i would want for our community or any community that would look at having these detainees.
mr. duncan: exactly. have any of you gentlemen visited the prison at guantanamo bay? mr. bouchard: no. mr. gude: no. mr. thompson: no. mr. duncan: mr. thompson, i have. in 2001, 2002, when we started catching enemy combatants, they took them to guantanamo bay. "time magazine" loves to show pictures of an outdoor facility and people cooking and detainees being in a fenced in area, since 2002, we have built some pretty substantial prison facilities there. there is medium security, there is low security, i don't think there is any prisoners in the low security area, there is medium security, and there is maxim security. it is much like a prison in your county.
they have the ability to cook their own food and do their own laundry. it is much like you see in county and state facilities. then there is a maximum security facility. these prisoners held in maxim security, khalid sheikh mohammed, he has no cure and occasion with any other prisoners. he has his own room, his own cell, he is monitored 24/7. they are muslim. they have to have their area to pray. they have an area outside of the compound where they can go out, get some fresh air, but it is connected to their cell. they don't have any other contact with the other prisoners. there are special circumstances holding muslim terrorists that want to harm america and a special prison facility has been
built on guantanamo bay specifically for that purpose. in addition, there is a courtroom facility built in guantanamo bay paid for by taxpayers. they have secure access to go to get counsel with their legal counsel. if they came to the military brig in charleston, i do believe it is going to cost the taxpayer additional resources to create or re-create what we already have an guantanamo bay to house these very special prisoners. are you set up the same way in guantanamo bay based on my description of the cellblocks? mr. thompson: we are not set up for that. to build this new facility, it would take at least three years.
the fund of $91 million may be up to -- mr. duncan: is the dod coming up with these plans right now? because they are not having any conversation. are they doing this unilaterally? these are the facilities it is going to have, wouldn't they talk to you? mr. thompson: i haven't talked to military officials on military duty. i can't tell you what they are doing. i have looked on the map. there is a boy scout and girl scout camp in the center. there is no water. there is no electricity. it cannot connect to that area. much less build it. i am also told that the guantanamo bay detainees have to have almost specialized security
watching over them. mr. duncan: so if we've got to build all of these facilities, why do we go out to louisiana and build on the high ground of the bayou? there are thousands and thousands of undeveloped acres. why are we talking about fort leavenworth or charleston? it is interesting when you bring that closer to home, i do believe. mr. thompson: guantanamo bay, they are away from harming citizens. that is one of the biggest concerns that we have, bringing them to united states soil. governor haley talking about charleston where there are communities of veterans living there, that is going to cause them undue threat concern,
economic impact social impact, all of these things just by moving here. chairman: the gentleman's time has now expired and the gentleman now recognizes the ranking member. mr. richmond: i just wanted to let you know that there is no higher ground in the bayou. i just wanted to tell you that. [laughter] chairman: the chair thanks the members for their very valuable testimony today and the chair thanks them for their questions. members may have some additional questions from the witnesses and we ask you to respond to these in writing pursuant to the committee rule 7e. the subcommittee stands adjourned.