Jake Tapper Questions Legality of Gitmo Detainee Transfer to U.S. Soil

January 14th, 2016 8:12 PM

With a phone and a pen.

That is the answer as to how President Obama can transfer Guantanamo detainees to prisons on the U.S. mainland despite the fact that Congress expressly prohibited this. However, kudos to Jake Tapper on The Lead today for questioning the legality of such a transfer during an interview with an equally skeptical CNN Pentagon Correspondent, Barbara Starr.

JAKE TAPPER: Secretary of Defense Ash Carter also today, Barbara, said that he's looking into transferring the remaining Gitmo detainees to prisons in the United States, obviously exploring some in Colorado. I'm really confused about this because it's been the law of the land since the beginning of the Obama presidency when Democrats controlled Congress that these detainees cannot be transferred from Gitmo to the United States. How can the Obama administration transfer them without breaking the law?

See the answer at the top. Remember, Obama's chief of staff promised the final year of his presidency would be chock full of executive orders to circumvent the law. Barbara Starr now attempts to answer Tapper's question:

BARBARA STARR: Really good question isn't it? Look they got about maybe thirty more, a handful more, that they could transfer overseas. They're deemed possible for transfer. So you get down to the really hard core. The top leadership from the 9/11 era that are never getting transferred. Colorado is looking like the place the Pentagon wants to send them so could Obama do it by some sort of executive order? That's one theory but, and that's a big but, he still needs to get Congress to authorize the money to appropriate the money and the funds to do this sort of thing and there is a lot of concern about it. Now John McCain says, he is the Republican chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he wants to see a plan from the Pentagon and then he'll make up his mind. He may be one of the most important voices on this.

TAPPER: House Speaker Paul Ryan earlier this week saying he's worried that President Obama might be about to command the military to break the law.

I order you to break the law but, hey, no problem because I got a phone and a pen.