The U.S. military could defy President Barack Obama and refuse to dismantle the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay if the commander-in-chief issues an executive order to close it, Rep. Mike Pompeo tells Newsmax TV.
"The men and women of our military who he would ask to carry out that mission would have to look very carefully at whether the direction they were being given was consistent with what their counsel was telling them about what was legal," Pompeo, a Kansas Republican, said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."
"I hope the president won't put anybody in that position and won't present risk to America, but we've watched a president behave in lawless ways. The attorneys general have said it's illegal … the secretary of defense has said it's illegal … the fact the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all his people, have said it's illegal."
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Obama promised to shut Guantanamo — where many of the world's top suspected terrorists have been held — during his 2008 presidential campaign, saying it's used as a recruitment tool for terrorists around the world.
But with Republicans promising to block any legislation to close it, Obama is weighing an executive order.
Pompeo, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who served as an Armor Branch cavalry officer in the Army from 1986 to 1991, those in the military understand the chain of command and duty to follow orders.
"But there's another duty. When you take an oath to the Constitution and to defend America, your oath is different. It's not to that person who's the company commander when you're a lieutenant or to the general when you're a colonel. Your obligation is beyond that," Pompeo told Malzberg.
"So it would be an incredibly difficult spot that they would find themselves in and I just literally pray that no commander in chief would ever put his soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines in that kind of positon."
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