WASHINGTON (Jan. 22, 2009)—House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the Executive Orders signed by President Obama to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and end harsh interrogation techniques:
For years, the United States has suffered under detention and interrogation policies that made a mockery of the rule of law, hampered our efforts to convict terrorists, and weakened our leadership in a global ideological struggle. President Obama, however, has committed himself to rethink those policies. A renewed commitment to the rule of law was at the center of his campaign and remains at the center of his governing mandate. As he said in his inaugural address on Tuesday, We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
So I applaud todays Executive Orders signed by President Obama, which set forth a process for confronting the terrorist threat we face, without resorting to tactics that are ultimately self-defeating. By moving to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, reevaluating detainee policy, and categorically ending harsh interrogation techniques, the President puts America on a stronger footing against those enemies who hate our Nation and its ideals.
I understand that todays Executive Orders are a start, not an ending: Settling the details of these new policies will take months of consultation, in which Congress fully expects to play its part. In fact, striking the proper balance between our safety and our ideals is a continuous process, which we should not expect to finish in the lifetime of this Administration, or of any Administration. But President Obama has already shown his willingness to listen carefully to our military, to leaders of both parties, and to our allies abroad, and I trust that that willingness will characterize his time in office.