Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade dismissed the assertions of interrogation experts and those familiar with the Guantánamo Bay military commission system that keeping the prison open and holding trials there help terrorist organizations recruit more members.
Fox Dismisses Idea That Guantanamo Is Helping Terrorists
Kilmeade Ridicules Idea That "Gitmo Makes Us Look Bad." Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade ridiculed the idea that the Guantánamo prison is a national security problem for the U.S.:
KILMEADE: They're going to go, "We're going to decide to change our policy on letting these Gitmo detainees go back to Yemen." You know when they go back to Yemen they go to prison, and suddenly they end up tunneled out and disappeared. So we're going to get the worst of the worst they wouldn't even take them back, and we're going to send them back to that prison where the bars are made of papier-mâché. And they're going to end up with us.
And the president is going to have an explanation to the next people that they kill: "Yeah, I let them go because Gitmo makes us look bad." Do you know anyone that's attacked us because we imprison the people that are trying to kill us? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/23/13]
But Experts Say That Guantánamo Helps Terrorists' Causes, Hurts America's Image
Former Chief Prosecutor Of Military Commissions At Guantánamo Bay: Obama Is Right That Prison Serves As "Recruitment Tool For Extremists." In a May 2 Guardian op-ed, Morris Davis, who formerly served as the chief prosecutor of the military commissions at Guantánamo, agreed with President Obama that the prison is a recruiting tool for terrorists, calling it "a stain on America's reputation":
I am going to say something I have not said as often as I would have liked: I agree with President Obama. Despite indications to the contrary -- such as fighting me tooth and nail in court the past three years (and counting) over my firing by the Library of Congress for writing op-eds critical of his and President Bush's detainee policies - he apparently came to the same realization I had several years ago that, in his words, "we've got to close Guantánamo."
At a press conference on Tuesday, the president said that Guantánamo is unnecessary to keep America safe; it is expensive and inefficient; it diminishes the standing of the United States in the international community; it hampers cooperation with allies on counterterrorism efforts; and it serves as a recruitment tool for extremists. He is right on all counts. How, then, could anyone find an upside to perpetuating the Guantánamo fiasco? [The Guardian, 5/2/13]
Senior Air Force Interrogator: "The No. 1 Reason Foreign Fighters Flocked [To Iraq] Were The Abuses Carried Out At Abu Ghraib And Guantánamo." An Air Force interrogator who successfully tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, wrote in a 2008 Washington Post op-ed that abuses of prisons in Guantánamo Bay and other prisons contributed to the flow of terrorists fighting U.S. forces in Iraq:
Torture and abuse are against my moral fabric. The cliche still bears repeating: Such outrages are inconsistent with American principles. And then there's the pragmatic side: Torture and abuse cost American lives.
I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. [The Washington Post, 11/30/08]
Former Navy General Counsel: High-Ranking Officers Believed That Use Of Guantánamo Led To U.S. Deaths In Iraq. During congressional testimony on detainee interrogation in June 2008, former Navy general counsel Alberto Mora said:
MORA: [S]ome U.S. flag-rank officers maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq -- as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat -- are, respectively, the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. [ThinkProgress, 6/17/08]
Center For Strategic & International Studies: Guantánamo Bay Provided Terrorists With A "Propaganda Windfall That Enables Recruitment To Violence." In a September 2008 study on the Guantánamo Bay prison, the Center for Strategic & International Studies "concluded that the United States has been damaged by Guantánamo beyond any immediate security benefits. Our enemies have achieved a propaganda windfall that enables recruitment to violence." [Center for Strategic & International Studies, "Closing Guantanamo: From Bumper Sticker to Blueprint", September 2008]
Fox Has Previously Denied Gitmo's Effect As Terrorist Recruiting Tool
Fox's Hume On Gitmo As A Recruiting Tool: "Where's The Evidence Of That?" Responding to a suggestion that terrorist groups will no longer be able to point to U.S. interrogation techniques to boost recruitment if the torture at the Guantánamo Bay prison was stopped, Hume stated: "Oh, as a recruiting tool? Where's the evidence of that?" [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 4/19/09, via Media Matters]
Coulter Falsehood: "No Evidence" Guantánamo "Has Served As A Recruiting Tool." Appearing on Fox News' Hannity, Ann Coulter asserted that "all liberals are saying ... that Guantánamo has served as a recruiting tool for terrorists," but "they certainly have no evidence for it." [Fox News, Hannity, 5/21/09, via Media Matters]
Fox News Sunday's Wallace: "I Have Never Felt That Guantánamo Was This Huge Recruiting Tool." Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said that "I'd love to know the specific proof that the Obama administration or anyone has that Guantánamo is a recruiting tool" for terrorists and added: "I have never felt that Guantánamo was this huge recruiting tool and the main reason for -- that -- the reason they hate us." [Fox News Radio's Brian & The Judge, 5/22/09, via Media Matters]