Dana Perino on how the MSM and critics of the Bush administration are now giving President-elect Obama cover on Guantanamo:
Q Another specific that’s been talked about is trials for detainees in Guantanamo Bay inside the U.S. You’ve spent a lot of time at that podium and the President has talked about this a lot, about the danger of that potentially happening. What about that prospect, a meeting?
MS. PERINO: I don’t know what their plans are. I do think it’s interesting that some — for many years, a couple of years we’ve been seeing reported in the press that it would just be easier just to close Guantanamo Bay, and we’ve tried very hard to explain to people how complicated it is.
When you pick up people off the battlefield that have a terrorist background, it’s not just so easy to let them go. We’ve tried to repatriate many of them back to their homes. We’ve gone from about 655 detainees down to about 250 now. We continue to try to repatriate them to places that we know that they will be safe and that they’ll be kept from harming others. About 7 percent of the detainees that we returned to their home countries have actually struck again. Some have been recaptured. One of them could not be recaptured because he was a suicide bomber who killed 40 people in Mosul.
These issues are complicated, and we have put forward a process that we think would work in order to put them on trial through military tribunals. We have also asked Congress to take another look at the issue that resulted from the Boumediene decision because it is not just — it’s not so easy just to say that you’re going to close Guantanamo Bay.
And now in the last week or so, all of a sudden some of our critics in the media are now putting forward how complicated it would be and how difficult it will be for the next President to make these decisions. All of a sudden it’s really complicated. So we take the point. It is complicated and we’ve been trying to do our best to try to close it.