October 5, 2015

Michael Bennet’s Election Year Gitmo Flip Flop

When it was reported late last week that two Colorado prisons are being scouted as likely destinations for Guantanamo Bay detainees, it seemed clear that Sen. Michael Bennet would welcome them into the state given his voting record in the senate.

Bennet cast multiple votes that enabled the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States to move forward. In 2013, Bennet voted against an amendment that would prohibit the transfer of detainees to the United States. The Hill reported:

Senate Democrats blocked a Republican amendment Tuesday that would have restricted the transfer of Guantánamo Bay detainees for at least one year. The Senate voted 43-55 against an amendment from Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). It needed 60 votes to pass. Their amendment would have prevented the administration from transferring any Guantánamo Bay detainees to the United States, including for medical reasons, and made it more difficult to send them to foreign countries.

In 2012, Bennet voted against an amendment that would have prevented funds appropriated to Guantanamo from being used to transfer or release Guantanamo detainees, and in 2009, Bennet voted to table an amendment that would have prohibited the use of Guantanamo funds to construct or modify U.S. prisons to hold Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Each of these votes was instrumental in paving the way to bring detainees – including terror suspects – to Colorado.

But 2016 is an election year, and Bennet – facing long odds and sinking poll numbers – has already come under fire on national security issues by supporting President Obama’s dangerous Iran nuclear deal, so he decided to do a little strategic repositioning and hoped Colorado voters wouldn’t notice. The Denver Post reported on Bennet’s response:

“The Department of Defense has no authority to transfer these prisoners or make such modifications and they have made no case that it makes sense to do so,” Bennet said in a statement.

Nice try. Unfortunately for Bennet, the facts are clear: he voted against legislation that would have prohibited the transfer of Gitmo detainees to American soil. Empty campaign rhetoric can’t change that.