Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas told Frank Gaffney, founder of the right-wing think tank Center for Security Policy, on Dec. 16 about a letter that he sent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Nov. 23 informing them they don't have to follow an "unlawful order" from President Barack Obama to move detainees from a U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to prisons on U.S. soil (video below).
“It’s unconscionable to put our military leaders in this position, where the commander in chief asks of them something that is clearly unlawful,” Pompeo explained to Gaffney, notes RightWingWatch.org.
“And my intention was not to put pressure on those amazing soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, but rather to inform everyone that you can’t ask folks in the military to execute an unlawful order," Pompeo added.
"And I hope that they understand that there [are] members of Congress that have their back in the event that they choose to make a decision that comports with their duty.”
In his letter, also signed by 15 other Republican lawmakers, Pompeo cited the Financial Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which he says prohibits the "use of Department of Defense funds to transfer GTMO detainees to the United States or to modify/construct facilities within the United States for that purpose. These restrictions are still in effect until the end of calendar year 2015, per Sections 1032 and 1033 of the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 113-291)."
While it is true those provisions exist, per the U.S. Government Publishing Office, the provisions only apply to "Department of Defense funds" and only until the end of 2015.
Pompeo also stated on his website: "The fact that the President sought to bring terrorists, including the mastermind of 9/11 attacks, to the United States is indicative of his misguided, and outright dangerous approach to our national security. "
Pompeo failed to provide any evidence of any danger to "national security" that the detainees would pose while being housed in a maximum security prison in the U.S.
The New York Times editorial board noted in September that "115 detainees remain" in Guantanamo Bay. "Nearly half — 53 men — have been cleared for release. The remaining prisoners include 10 who have been convicted in military tribunals or have cases before them, and 52 who have never been charged with a crime but for whom there is currently no path to freedom or due process."