Washington, DC – In letters to two senior Administration officials, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) expressed her disappointment in President Bush’s decision to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention center open, despite public comments that he would like to see the facility closed.

Senator Feinstein’s letters to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also asked that proposals by both agencies on options for closing the facility be made available to the next President, and to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Senator Feinstein has led efforts in the Senate to require President Bush to close the Guantanamo facility, including offering an amendment to the Fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Bill that would have required the President to close the facility within a year. Senate Republicans prevented the measure from being debated in July 2007.

Following is the text of Senator Feinstein’s letters to Secretary Gates and Secretary Rice:

October 22, 2008

The Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Gates:

I have spoken with you in the past about our shared desire to close the military detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  I have praised your views on this issue and am pleased that you directed Pentagon officials to conduct a study of how to solve the security, legal, policy, and practical considerations necessary to bring an end to the failed Guantanamo experiment.

To repeat what I have said numerous times:  the decision to create a detention facility at Guantanamo under a separate and unequal system of justice was made by this Administration.  The Supreme Court has struck down the legal basis for these detentions in the Rasul, Hamdi, Hamdan, and Boumediene decisions.  I strongly believe that this Administration should begin the steps needed to close Guantanamo.

Unfortunately, according to an article in the New York Times, dated October 21, 2008, entitled “Bush Decides to Keep Guantanamo Open,” the Administration has decided not to close the facility, despite frequent assurances by President Bush that he wanted to do so.  The article goes on to indicate that the President “never considered proposals drafted in the State Department and the Pentagon that outlined options for transferring the detainees elsewhere…”.

I am confident that the proposal written by Defense officials to close Guantanamo reflects the expertise and best judgments of those who have worked most closely with these issues over the past six years.  As such, the Pentagon study and related documents would be very helpful for the next President and the Intelligence Committee of the Senate to review as we further consider this issue.

Thank you very much.  I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senator


October 22, 2008

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

I have spoken with you in the past about our shared desire to close the military detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  I have praised your views on this issue and am pleased that you directed State Department officials to conduct a study of how to solve the security, legal, policy, and practical considerations necessary to bring an end to the failed Guantanamo experiment.

To repeat what I have said numerous times:  the decision to create a detention facility at Guantanamo under a separate and unequal system of justice was made by this Administration.  The Supreme Court has struck down the legal basis for these detentions in the Rasul, Hamdi, Hamdan, and Boumediene decisions.  I strongly believe that this Administration should begin the steps needed to close Guantanamo.

Unfortunately, according to an article in the New York Times, dated October 21, 2008, entitled “Bush Decides to Keep Guantanamo Open,” the Administration has decided not to close the facility, despite frequent assurances by President Bush that he wanted to do so.  The article goes on to indicate that the President “never considered proposals drafted in the State Department and the Pentagon that outlined options for transferring the detainees elsewhere…”.

I am confident that the proposal written by State Department officials to close Guantanamo reflect the expertise and best judgments of those who have worked most closely with these issues over the past six years.  As such, the State Department study and related documents would be very helpful for the next President and the Intelligence Committee of the Senate to review as we further consider this issue.

Thank you very much.  I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senator


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