King, Pingree back Obama on closing Guantanamo

King, Pingree back Obama on closing Guantanamo

In statements released following President Obama’s announcement of plans to close the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, yesterday, Representative Chellie Pingree and Senator Angus King of Maine both expressed support for closing the prison.

“The American justice system and the American prison system can handle these individuals. Closing Guantanamo will save the American taxpayers money and will help make sure that justice is served. It’s long overdue,” said Pingree, who visited the detention center as part of a congressional delegation in 2011. “The practice of holding prisoners indefinitely without charging them or without a trial also has to come to an end.”

“After considering this issue carefully, having numerous conversations with military and intelligence community officials, and visiting the facility myself, I am convinced that closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is in our national security interests. The facility serves as a recruitment and propaganda tool for terrorist organizations, and its continued operation complicates relationships with some allies and partners. Furthermore, maintaining the facility comes at the exorbitant cost of nearly $3 million per detainee per year to American taxpayers,” said King. “I intend to carefully review the Administration’s proposal and gather the input of experts as I work to assess whether the plan presents a credible and acceptable path to closing the facility in a manner that is consistent with U.S and international law and with our national security interests.”

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