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Motion To Instruct Conferees On H.R. 2346, Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Madam Speaker, I stand in support of this amendment and certainly appreciate the gentleman for introducing it. But I wanted to talk specifically about the Guantanamo Bay prison and why that's important because I strongly believe that if we did not have it, we would need to invent it. It is that important to American security. Mr. LUNGREN has talked about it a little bit.

We have had about 500 prisoners there who have been processed and released and sent back to their countries either to be detained in their countries or to be watched by host countries. Twelve percent of those have actually gone back into combat, which is disturbing. But we have had 500 prisoners move in and out. We have got about 240 left, and they're the worst of the worst. These are folks who were basically caught in an act of war trying to kill American citizens.

Our foreign allies, particularly those in Europe, who have given so much criticism about closing Guantanamo Bay, none of them have opened up their doors and said, hey, we'll take these Sunday school teachers and Boy Scouts, because they know that they're not Sunday school teachers and Boy Scouts. So I think that not closing down Guantanamo Bay is the right thing to do. But I also wanted to talk about the points Mr. LUNGREN made about the Miranda rights of prisoners.

Prior to 9/11, America generally treated acts of terrorism as breaking the law. Case in point: the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the USS Cole. These were not seen as acts of war. Therefore, the perpetrators of those crimes got lawyers. They had Miranda rights. They had all the courtesies of the U.S. Government, the U.S. justice system. That is not what we need to be doing right now. After 9/11 we realized that these acts of terrorism weren't just tactical but strategic acts of war, and therefore we have moved over to let's treat soldiers as they are, war criminals.

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Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the chairman.

Therefore, the first thing they're going to be trying to say is, I am not going to say anything until you give me a lawyer. And then they're going to come home to America and they're going to be all lawyered up. It's going to cost taxpayers money. It's going to hurt our investigations and interrogations. We're not going to be able to get the intelligence that we need, the background information that will prevent future terrorist attacks.

There was a lot of criticism by this administration about the Bush-Cheney administration, but I will say one thing about it: during 9/11, and I think those of us on the floor, most of us, were here then, we felt assured that we would have another attack on American soil. That did not happen. And I remember those dark days. We all felt like there would be another domestic attack. That was prevented, in part, because of what we were able to find out from prisoners who were being held and detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

So I wanted to make those points, Madam Speaker, and I thank the gentleman for yielding the floor.

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