Tags: GOP2016 | Mitt Romney | War on Terrorism | kelly ayotte | guantanamo bay | yemen

Sen. Kelly Ayotte: 'Wild, Wild West for Terrorists in Yemen'

By    |   Tuesday, 13 January 2015 05:39 PM

Calling it the "Wild, Wild West for terrorists in Yemen," Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday called for a "time out" on transfers of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

The New Hampshire Republican appeared on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" after earlier in the day joining fellow GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to introduce legislation to restrict President Barack Obama's ability to release more detainees.

"These are not minor players," Ayotte told Cavuto, noting that most of the already-released prisoners were those deemed less dangerous.

"We need a time-out," she said. "The administration, unfortunately, has been trying to empty Gitmo."

Fifteen detainees were released in December, four of them to Afghanistan, she said.

"These were designated either high-risk or medium-risk in the past," she said. "We're talking about people who have been associated with al-Qaida or have been involved in planning attacks or participating in attacks against our troops. So these are not minor players."

Of the 127 detainees left at Guantanamo, 81 are from Yemen, she said. And at least one of the suspects in the Paris Charlie Hebdo attack is believed to have received training in Yemen.

"There was a major suicide bombing last week in Yemen. This is the Wild, Wild West for terrorists in Yemen, and we need to stop the administration from even thinking about transferring terrorists to Yemen," Ayotte said.

The administration argues that the governments to which the detainees are released monitor their actions. But Ayotte said those countries have not been reporting the conditions on which they are being held.

"Remember the Taliban five? We understand that they're eventually making it back to their families if they're not already there," Ayotte said.

Surveillance alone isn't enough, she said, as the Paris shooting shows. The gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attack had been under government surveillance and were on the U.S. no-fly list.

"Surveillance is not sufficient when we're talking about dangerous terrorists and the security climate that we're in right now and the threat that we face around the world," Ayotte said.

Turning to presidential politics, Ayotte confirmed that 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney had reached out to her after telling supporters he is considering a 2016 run.

"He is very enthusiastic," said Ayotte, who supported the former Massachusetts governor in 2012. "No question, very qualified."

Romney is strong on national security and feels vindicated after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ayotte told Cavuto.

"That said, we're going to have a vigorous primary," she said, adding that Romney will have to talk to the voters in the state with the nation's first primary and explain his vision for America and the middle class.

"There's a lot of concerns people have there, and also on these national security issues," she said. "So, he comes into this as a strong candidate but he's going to have to work like everyone else."

She brushed off a suggestion that she should enter the presidential mix.

"I'm going to be focusing on running for re-election for the United States Senate because I believe that there's so much more that we need to do for the country and the Senate," she said. "I'm glad we're going to get the Senate back on track, but there will about a lot more to do."

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Calling it the "Wild, Wild West for terrorists in Yemen," Sen. Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday called for a "time out" on transfers of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.
kelly ayotte, guantanamo bay, yemen
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 05:39 PM
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