Rear Adm. Harry Harris, the man in charge of the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, talked with "Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, giving his first interview since a riot rocked Guantanamo last month and three inmates committed suicide.
Here is a complete transcript of the interview:
MORAN: How old is this building?
HARRIS: This building was started in 1937 and finished in '38 as the Marine Corps Officers Club. The Marine presence here was a lot bigger than it is now. There was a full battalion here, you know. And after World War Ii we went into the Cold War, and this was the front lines.
It was the Marines. They got the Cuban Frontier Brigade and that old piece.
So the Marine presence here is quite large. And, over the years, its dwindled. And then in the '70s, it became a senior officer quarters. Then it became the JTF quarters when Gen. Miller came. So he was the first resident.
MORAN: Would you have a couple minutes?
MORAN: Items of significanc e...
HARRIS: Yes, I'll show you around. There's no items of significance associated with a house -- what's left of the house.
MORAN: I mean, your...
HARRIS: But there's large -- my stuff I had brought in here. I'd be happy to talk about that.
MORAN: The rugs are interesting.
HARRIS: Yes, they're Afghan war rugs. When I was flying over Afghanistan, you know, I'd buy them out in the Middle East. And when I was stationed in Bahrain, I bought some more.
But these are cheap. You know, this is $50 for this one.
But the history behind them and the novelty is pretty interesting.
HARRIS: They were originally built or made by villages -- villagers in Afghanistan to commemorate some kind of a military thing over the Soviets. These are Soviet AK-47s, Soviet tanks, Hind helicopters and so on.
And then they realized that Americans would actually pay money for them, so they started cranking them out in big style.
HARRIS: They are also made in Pakistan these days. These are all Afghan, I believe. At least, I bought them thinking they were.
MORAN: I have a very general question.
HARRIS: Now, am I looking at you or the camera?
MORAN: We're just trying to talk.
Now the first question is a very general question, but it takes off of something that's in the news right now. President Bush has said a few times he wants to close the defensive camp here at Guantanamo Bay.
What do you say?
HARRIS: I support that idea. I mean, we don't want to keep detainees here any longer than we have to. You know, these are enemies of our nation. And I believe they're here for the right reason. But if we can move them out, those that are recommended for release or transfer to other countries for continued detention, we should do that.
MORAN: So you'd like to see this place closed?
HARRIS: I would like to see the need for this place to be ended. However, today, I believe that we have a need for facilities like Guantanamo. And I believe we have, out of the 450 or so detainees we have here, there are probably 300 of them that are serious Taliban and al Qaeda leadership people.