Tags: rooney | guantanamo | bay

Rep. Tom Rooney: Don't Close Gitmo

Thursday, 21 May 2009 09:58 PM

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Republican Rep. Tom Rooney tells Newsmax that he knows where the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay should be locked up after they are tried and found guilty — Guantanamo Bay.

Rooney, who represents the South Florida district formerly represented by disgraced Rep. Mark Foley, has recently returned from the detention facility in Cuba that President Barack Obama wants to close. And he said, regarding the treatment of terrorist suspects there, that he saw nothing that Americans should be "ashamed of."

Editor’s Note: To see the full Tom Rooney interview, Go Here Now.

"The president is going to close that facility in less than a year, and we've got to figure out what we're going to do with the 241 men that live there now," Rep. Rooney said.

Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter asked the freshman congressman about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

"As a prosecutor I've been in prisons. I've had the opportunity to see what they're like in America," he said.

"And there was nothing that would indicate to me that there was anything going on there that we should be ashamed of as Americans."

Walter asked if the facility should be closed, as Obama intends to do.

"I believe that the detainees should have some kind of due process, and I think the president is coming more toward where I am thinking, and some of the people on my side of the aisle are thinking — that it's not going to be as easy as marching them up to federal court in the United States and trying them under the system that we enjoy under our constitutional rights as citizens," said Rooney.

"They might have to go through some kind of hybrid or military tribunal, because rules of evidence, rules of criminal procedure, are going to be very difficult to draft when evidence is being brought sometimes by the CIA, sometimes by the FBI or clandestine forces. You can't call them as witnesses [because] if they had to testify they would essentially out themselves and they'd no longer be of use."

Calling some witnesses "could also pose a serious danger to people who are cooperating with us in foreign countries," Rooney added.

"So once the president makes his mind up about exactly how the criminal procedure is going to proceed, there is a facility down in Cuba, a state of the art courtroom that could handle multiple trials.

"Once that happens, I do believe the president should consider reopening Guantanamo Bay as a prison. Right now it is a detention facility.

"The reason why we are closing it in large part is because of the perception internationally" that Guantanamo Bay is "some Abu Ghraib-type place that isn't American.

"I understand that to an extent. But the guys who are found guilty or are too dangerous to release regardless, those are the people that we're going to have to put somewhere.

"I've introduced a bill that I don't want them coming to Florida, and other congressmen are doing the same thing in their own states.

"But I think it's pragmatic to seriously consider that once we hear the testimony, some of the horrible things that they have done, some of horrible things that they're still willing to do, maybe the psychological problem we've had with Guantanamo Bay as a detention facility isn't still there for Guantanamo Bay as a prison."

Editor’s Note: To see the full Tom Rooney interview, Go Here Now.

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