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Franken: Close Guantanamo through Congress

October 13, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — In their race for Minnesota’s U.S. Senate seat, Sen. Al Franken and Republican challenger Mike McFadden are arguing about a controversial high-security prison some 2,000 miles away.

Franken said Monday Guantanamo Bay should be closed, but the president shouldn’t bypass Congress to do it. The Wall Street Journal recently reported President Barack Obama was considering an executive order to transfer terrorism suspects out of Guantanamo as a means to fulfill his campaign promise to close the Cuban military facility.

McFadden’s campaign criticized Franken’s comments as out of touch for calling to bring terrorism suspects onto U.S. soil while the threat of Islamic State extremists in the Middle East looms large.

“Minnesotans are being recruited to join terror groups and threaten lives at home and abroad, yet Senator Franken wants to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay?” spokesman Tom Erickson said in a statement. He referred to the transfer of prisoners as importing “known terrorists to prisons in the United States.”

McFadden joined Republicans nationwide in denouncing the possibility Obama would act alone to close Guantanamo.

Franken said Obama doesn’t have authority to bypass Congress, but he has long backed closing the military prison and handling suspects through the American judicial system. Franken said he worries Guantanamo’s continued existence has only boosted terrorist recruitment efforts, and said there are plenty of high-security prisons in the United States to house the dozens of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.

“I think that these terrorists should feel what American justice is,” he said.

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