CBS Defends Guantanamo Closing; Dismisses Cheney Criticism

David Martin, CBS Offering a defense of President Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay within the year, on Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent David Martin argued: "During his final years in office, President Bush said repeatedly he wanted to close the prison at Guantanamo, where suspected terrorists were being held indefinitely without trial. Turns out it was his own vice president who stood in the way."

Martin worked to discredit Dick Cheney’s concerns about closing the detention facility: "According to Cheney, 61 of the 530 prisoners released from Guantanamo during the Bush administration have already gone back to terrorism. According to the Defense Intelligence Agency, there are 61 suspected cases of former detainees rejoining the fight, but so far only 18 have been confirmed." Martin then admitted: "Most have subsequently been killed or captured; but some, like this suicide bomber in Iraq, lived long enough to kill again."

Martin concluded his report: "...many in the Bush administration believe Guantanamo was doing more harm than good. One senior counterterrorism official at the time called it a strategic defeat." However, Martin ignored a recent Gallup poll that showed that only 35 percent of Americans supported Obama’s decision to close the facility.

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

6:51PM SEGMENT:

KATIE COURIC: One of the enduring controversies in the war on terror involves the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Obama has ordered it closed, a decision criticized by Former Vice President Dick Cheney. But as David Martin has learned, there were some in the Bush-Cheney administration who wanted to do just that.

DAVID MARTIN: During his final years in office, President Bush said repeatedly he wanted to close the prison at Guantanamo, where suspected terrorists were being held indefinitely without trial. Turns out it was his own vice president who stood in the way.

MATTHEW WAXMAN: The vice president was among those who were generally determined to stick to the status quo.

MARTIN: In 2005, then Pentagon official, Matthew Waxman was part of an unsuccessful attempt to close Guantanamo. Now that President Obama has ordered it closed, Cheney has denounced the decision as naive.

DICK CHENEY: When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an al-Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do everything they can to kill Americans, then I worry.

MARTIN: According to Cheney, 61 of the 530 prisoners released from Guantanamo during the Bush administration have already gone back to terrorism. According to the Defense Intelligence Agency, there are 61 suspected cases of former detainees rejoining the fight, but so far only 18 have been confirmed. Most have subsequently been killed or captured; but some, like this suicide bomber in Iraq, lived long enough to kill again. Still, many in the Bush administration believe Guantanamo was doing more harm than good. One senior counterterrorism official at the time called it a strategic defeat. David Martin, CBS News, the Pentagon.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC