CNN's Amanpour Mocks 'Roughty-Toughty' Rumsfeld, Calls Gitmo 'Not American'

CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Jeffrey Toobin continued to push for Guantanamo Bay to be closed on Thursday's 10 p.m. ET hour of Anderson Cooper 360. "It's just not American," Amanpour insisted.

Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, knocked the "roughty-toughty Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld decided no Geneva Conventions" for the detainees. Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, challenged the law passed by Congress mandating that Guantanamo be kept open. "That doesn't mean it was right," he said of its bipartisan passage.

The dispute over Guantanamo also featured former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, The Blaze TV's Amy Holmes, and Colonel Morris Davis who was the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo for two years and now calls for its closure. The topic was the current hunger strikes at the center where prisoners are protesting being held without trial.

Fleischer and Amanpour scuffled over the very opening of Guantanamo and its accordance with the Geneva Conventions:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: You wanted to have this whole thing about enemy combatants. The roughty-toughty Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld decided no Geneva Conventions.

ANDERSON COOPER: Roughty-toughty?

AMANPOUR: Let's just put these guys in there.

ARI FLEISCHER: No, they were treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, even though they did not qualify because they didn't wear uniforms per –

AMANPOUR: It is such a legal limbo. And this started –

FLEISCHER: The law is the law. It ought to be followed.

AMANPOUR: No, it's violation of international law.

FLEISCHER: It's not.

AMANPOUR: And do you know what? Force-feeding is also a violation of international medical ethics.

(Crosstalk)

AMANPOUR: The UN is saying that right now!

And when the idea surfaced of sending Yemeni prisoners back to Yemen, Fleischer noted "There have been people who were released to Yemen who returned to the battlefield." Host Anderson Cooper followed that "There was also a huge jail break in Yemen a while back." Amanpour disagreed.

"Yeah. But that was then," she insisted of the 2006 escape of 23 suspected al Qaeda members from a Yemeni prison. In 2011, Yemen saw two prison breaks in one year involving al Qaeda militants.

Toobin also claimed that civilian trials of terrorists have been "100 percent successful." Holmes brought up that "Ahmed Ghailani was a complete debacle. He was acquitted on over 280 charges."

And for the second straight day, Holmes and Amanpour faced off against each other. Holmes began claiming that "no countries" will accept the 86 detainees who have been cleared for transfer. "No, that's not true! We've just been talking about that," Amanpour challenged.

"That to me is no solution," Holmes insisted. "No, no. Come on, Amy," Amanpour responded.

Homes cited a "recidivism rate of 16-27 percent" of detainees returning to terrorist activity, or being suspected of having done so. And the office of the Director of National Intelligence attested to a recidivism rate of 27.9 percent in 2012. Amanpour wouldn't have it, though, sticking with CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen's estimate of "at best or at worst about 6 percent right now. That's one in 17."

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014