Over the last few months, the Administration has signaled that it will not only bring 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators to New York City for trial in civilian federal court - rather than continuing their military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay - but it is also proposing to house Guantanamo terrorists at a prison in Illinois. The American people are adamantly opposed to this plan, and rightly so. Are Democrats listening?
Instead of addressing the concerns of the American people, the Administration has engaged in ad-hoc attacks that belittle the seriousness of the threat we face. When I said that the President's decision to set up a "Gitmo North" at the Thomson Correctional Center outside Chicago was emblematic of a "pre 9/11 mentality," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs came unhinged, calling my comments "crazy" - even though an overwhelming majority of the American people disagree with the President's decision to bring these terrorists to U.S. soil.
As we saw on Christmas Day, deadly terrorists continue to wage war on the American people. Terrorist groups like al Qaeda work daily to rally new recruits against the United States, our political and social values, our economic freedom, and our military - all of which were targets on September, 11, 2001 when they committed an act of war against our country, targeting our civilians and our military. Where we detain their fellow combatants - Guantanamo Bay, Cuba or Thompson, Illinois - does not change how they view us, but it does affect the security of the United States and the safety of American communities.
The Administration's response following the attempted attack on Christmas Day is consistent with its decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. We know this decision has not stopped al Qaeda from plotting attacks on Americans and turning these terrorists over to other countries is not working. It's time for the President to halt terrorist transfers to other countries, including Yemen, and to reevaluate his decision to close the prison at Guantanamo.
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