Rep. Mike Pompeo sat down with AEI’s Marc Thiessen on Tuesday to discuss Pompeo’s recent visit to Guantanamo Bay detention camp (Gitmo) and to comment on Obama’s national security strategy as a whole. Thiessen and Pompeo began by weighing in on the National Security Agency leaks and recent White House scandals. Rep. Pompeo lamented that the scandals have damaged the government’s credibility, faulting President Obama for failing to foster a culture of accountability and trustworthiness. On the topic of Edward Snowden, Rep. Pompeo insisted that “to call Snowden a hero is a disservice to the true heroes.”
Turning to Gitmo, Rep. Pompeo commended Joint Task Force Guantanamo for its effective management of the facility, noting that it is operated in a manner that is consistent with “American ideals and notions of fairness and rule of law.” Both Pompeo and Thiessen agreed that the proposal to shutter Gitmo poses significant risk to national security. Moreover, Rep. Pompeo warned that “the world watches weakness,” and that offering to close Gitmo as a means of placating America’s enemies is futile and dangerous.
While Gitmo may be a hot media topic, Rep. Pompeo highlighted that few issues enjoy more bipartisan support in Congress than the commitment to keep Gitmo open.
President Obama’s recent speech at the National Defense University marked his most comprehensive public remarks about Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) since an ongoing hunger strike refocused attention on the prison. Some human rights groups have applauded his decision to lift a ban on transferring cleared detainees to Yemen, while others argue the administration lacks an effective plan to manage relocated prisoners. A controversial tool in America’s war on terror, Gitmo’s future remains uncertain.
Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and a West Point graduate, has just returned from visiting Gitmo. He will sit down with AEI’s Marc Thiessen for a conversation on the facility and the implications its closure could have for America’s security. A brief Q&A will follow.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Mike Pompeo, US House of Representatives (R-KS)
Marc A. Thiessen, AEI
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Mike Pompeo represents Kansas’s Fourth District and serves as a member of both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point, and served with distinction as a cavalry officer in the US Army along the Iron Curtain. After graduating from Harvard Law and practicing for a few years, Pompeo founded Thayer Aerospace, a leading aerospace and defense subcontracting firm, and served at its CEO for more than a decade. He later became president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service company. As the newest member of the House Intelligence panel, Rep. Pompeo is focused on providing the resources necessary to ensure victory against America’s adversaries and maintaining America’s rightful place as a moral and just force in the world.
Marc A. Thiessen is an AEI scholar and former member of the White House senior staff under President George W. Bush. As an official in the Bush administration, Thiessen served as chief speechwriter to the president and to former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld. Before joining the Bush administration, Thiessen spent more than six years as spokesman and senior policy adviser to former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC). He is a weekly columnist for the Washington Post, and appears regularly on Fox News and other news networks. His book on the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program, titled “Courting Disaster” (Regnery Press, 2010), was a New York Times bestseller. He is the coauthor, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, of the forthcoming “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge” (Penguin, 2013). At AEI, Thiessen writes about US foreign and defense policy issues for American.com and the AEI Ideas blog.