[Congressional Record: October 23, 2009 (House)]
[Page H11735-H11737]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 6, 2009, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. HOEKSTRA. I thank the Speaker for the recognition.
  Yesterday was a very interesting day in an open hearing in the 
Intelligence Committee. It's something that doesn't happen very often. 
We had the opportunity to hear from a small business person from 
Standish, Michigan--Dave Munson. The hearing was about congressional 
  When is it the requirement of the executive branch, of the President 
and of the executive agencies, to fully brief Congress in a timely 
manner on the actions that they are taking?
  The law is fairly clear. Congress needs to be fully and currently 
informed of intelligence matters.
  So why would David Munson, a small business man from a small town in 
northern Michigan, be testifying in front of the Intelligence 
  David Munson is asking that this Congress, that the Michigan 
legislature, that the city council in Standish, and that the citizens 
of Standish, Michigan be fully and completely informed and be on a 
timely basis informed on what this administration's policies are for 
moving Guantanamo prisoners to the United States.
  On January 22, the President made a statement that he now is finding 
is very, very difficult to finish. He promised that, within 12 months, 
the prison in Guantanamo would be closed and that the Gitmo detainees 
would be moved somewhere else, either overseas or perhaps to the United 
States. Many of us who have been working on this issue for years 
recognized how ill-advised the President's statement could be.
  President Bush had said that he wanted Guantanamo closed, and as he 
started taking a look at how he would make it happen, he found out it 
was very, very difficult to do. He diminished the number of detainees 
in Gitmo, but he wasn't able to close it completely. President Obama, 
really with no analysis, said he would close it in 12 months. He has 
now found out how difficult that is.
  Other countries don't want to take these detainees. They don't want 
to take them into their countries. We don't want them in the United 
States. As soon as they move from Cuba to the United States, they get a 
whole new set of legal rights and legal authorities. So why would we 
want to do that for some of the most dangerous people in the world? Yet 
the President seems committed to moving these people to the United 
  One of the sites that he is supposedly investigating, or that the 
Department of Defense and the Department of Justice are considering, is 
a closed corrections facility in Standish, Michigan. The Department of 
Defense has been there. Mr. Munson believes that some of the elected 
officials in the community are having ongoing discussions with the 
Department of Defense about moving these detainees, these prisoners, to 
the State of Michigan even though the community is opposed.
  Just like most of Michigan, this is a community that is hurting. 
We've got a 15.3 percent unemployment rate--the highest unemployment 
rate in the country, so we need an economic stimulus; but what the 
people of that community have said is we don't need an al Qaeda 
stimulus in our community. If the President is considering moving these 
prisoners to Michigan, what they do want is transparency. They would 
like to know exactly what the status of the negotiations is.
  Are there negotiations actually taking place? If there are, then 
they'd like to know: What's the impact on our community going to be? 
They'd like to have a better understanding.
  As Mr. Munson said yesterday, exactly who are these individuals we're 
considering moving into our community? What are their backgrounds? Why 
are they being held in Gitmo? Why have we detained them for years? He 
would also like to know, as would other people in the community, if 
we've held these people in Gitmo for a number of years, what have we 
learned while we have held these people in detention? What kinds of 
risks and challenges might they pose to the people who are guarding 
them and to the community where they are housed? What has been our 
experience in holding al Qaeda and radical jihadists in prisons around 
the world? Have there been attempted prison breaks? Have there been 
attempted prison entries where people outside have targeted the 
communities where these facilities are held?
  These are the kinds of questions that the people in Standish, 
Michigan and the people of Michigan want answers to. The people in 
Standish have asked for that information. The Michigan legislature has 
asked for transparency. I have asked for transparency as the ranking 
member of the Intelligence Committee, but consistently, Secretary Gates 
and the Obama administration have replied with stone silence. They are 
totally unwilling to share any information with elected officials or 
with the citizens of Standish about what their plans and intentions may 
or may not be.
  For an administration that said we are going to be transparent, to 
have a hearing in the Intelligence Committee where we're saying we want 
to talk about transparency and about what some would say is a lack of 
transparency by the previous administration and now by this 
administration and about keeping Congress fully and completely informed 
on a timely basis, it was the perfect hearing in which to have that 
  What David Munson clearly articulated is that people in Michigan and 
people in Standish are concerned, and they want answers. This 
administration has been unwilling to keep the

[[Page H11736]]

citizens of Standish informed on this issue. It is disappointing. This 
is a community that is concerned about their economic future. They are 
concerned about the character of their community. They are concerned 
about the future. With the closing of the corrections facility in 
Standish recently, the city faces some very, very tough economic times. 
The community faces tough economic times. A lot of people have lost 
their jobs because of the decisions that have been made by the State of 
  So they're trying to wrestle, and they're trying to deal with those 
issues, but the thing that they realize is that, as they move forward 
and as they look toward the future as to how they're going to fill it, 
they would just like some information. They would like some information 
and some transparency from this administration, and they're 
disappointed that they're not getting it.
  Today, again, we reiterate the request to the Department of Defense, 
to the Department of Justice and to the Obama administration: Please, 
please be more transparent in what your plans and intentions are for 
the Gitmo detainees because there are two debates. There are many of us 
who believe that even considering moving the Gitmo detainees to U.S. 
soil is a genuinely bad idea.

                              {time}  1230

  Let's have that debate. Let's have that debate first, and then if 
somehow at the conclusion of that debate there are still people who 
believe that moving these individuals to the United States is a good 
idea, then let's be fully transparent as to the ramifications, the 
risks, and the implications to local communities.
  What we have seen so far is that the Obama administration is totally 
unwilling to engage in the first debate as to why and what the benefits 
are to closing Gitmo and moving those prisoners to the United States. 
Now they have moved directly to the second, without any consideration 
or any dialogue on the first, and now they are doing the second one in 
total secrecy.
  It is time to change that process. I think it is time to go back to 
the beginning of this process and reconsider that first decision that 
says we are going to close Gitmo. Then I think what we will find out is 
this second discussion may not even be needed.