This week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) got into a heated debate about Guantanamo Bay detainees and ran out of the hearing.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman, said that Guantanamo detainees cost about $12 million per year to house, and he claimed it would be “immensely cheaper” to relocate them to a Florence, Colorado facility. He then said that after being released, a detainee has a 5% recidivism rate.
“Mr. Chairman, according to the Director of National Intelligence, it’s thirty-one percent,” Graham added. “Somebody is incorrect here. If you’re going to argue with what I said, I’m going to respond to what you just said. If we close Guantanamo and relocate the detainees to Colorado, would you favor continuing indefinite custody for these individuals under war?”
“I just want to be clear that I’m providing the facts,” Durbin said.
“No,” Graham cut in. “Does it really matter when it goes back to? We had them and they got away and began murdering people. Would it be important to you whether we release them now or later if you were one of the individuals killed in 2005?”
Graham continued, stating that the “system has completely failed,” and releasing prisoners would put the United States in danger.
“I hope they all perish in jail if they are going to go back to kill Americans,” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham added. “It wouldn’t bother me one bit if thirty-nine of them died in prison. That’s a better result than releasing them and if it costs $500 million to keep them in jail, then keep them in jail because they’ll return to the battle! Take a look at the Afghan government; it’s made up of ex-detainees from Guantanamo.
After that, Mr. Graham got up from his chair and walked out of the proceeding.
The hearing addressed the representation of four Guantanamo Bay detainees by Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson while she was a public defender. She explained that while she is a criminal defense lawyer, she does not select her clients and fights for them in order to protect the Constitution and the court.