Obama Order to Shut Gitmo, CIA Detention Centers

"I think the first thing we have to remember is that we're talking about terrorists here," Boehner said at a press conference this afternoon. "Do we bring them into our borders? Do we release them back into the battlefield, like some 61 detainees that have been released we know are back on the battlefield? And do we release them to get back and rejoin this fight? ... I'm concerned that some will be let go too soon, could end up back on the battlefield."

Cornyn argued that closing Guantanamo could bring terror suspects to America and put the country at risk.

"Clearly, these are not the kind of people you would want to put in our city jails or our state prisons," he said.

Currently 248 detainees are being held at the U.S. military base in Cuba. In setting up the prison and the military tribunal at Guantanamo Bush argued that America was engaged in a new kind of war calling for new policies such as harsh interrogation methods and secret prisons to avert further attacks.

"There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions," Bush said in his farewell address before leaving office earlier this month. "But there can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil."

Despite Republican concerns, a group of 16 military officials gathered at the White House today to support the policy changes to limit interrogation methods and close Guantanamo.

"We need to fight this battle on our battleground, which is the rule of law and support of human rights, and Guantanamo undermined that message at every turn," Ret. Admiral John Hutson said.

Interrogations Debate: What About Waterboarding?

Obama's order for all agencies to adhere to Army rules in conducting interrogations has come under attack from some critics, who insist that the kinds of harsh interrogation techniques characterized as "torture" by Attorney General nominee Eric Holder in fact have yielded valuable information.

"These interrogations provided critically important information," Cornyn said, "and I know that's been disclosed over the years, particularly in regard to someone like KSM, the mastermind of 9/11." (KSM refers to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has said in court at that he wishes to be "martyred" for his role in the attacks.)

Ret. Admiral John Hutson disagrees, calling torture a "method of choice for the lazy, the stupid and the pseudo-tough."

"It is absolutely clear that the best way to get actionable intelligence is not by the use of harsh interrogation," Hutson said. "But through other kinds of tactics, rapport-building kind of things."

Obama's decrees have ruled out the use of torture, secret prisons and techniques such as the highly controversial waterboarding, which simulates drowning.

In a note sent to employees following these orders, CIA Director Mike Hayden said the agency would follow direction from the new government "without exception, carve-out or loophole" but added that "our agency has many counterterror tools in its arsenal. The rendition, detention and interrogation program has been an important one."

Just last week, Hayden was asked about putting the CIA under the Army Field Manual in a briefing, to which he said, "I would never order it."

"To assume automatically that a manual written for the purposes of the Army Field Manual would suit the needs of the Republic in all circumstances, I just think that's a real shot in the dark," he said.

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