Ash Carter Pledges To Not Succumb to White House Pressure on Gitmo Releases

February 4, 2015

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) asked Secretary of Defense nominee Ash Carter a series of pointed questions involving controversies surrounding the Obama administration.

"I would ask you to tell us, and to make a commitment to this committee that you will not succumb to any pressure by this administration to increase the pace of transfers from Guantanamo. Will you commit to that?" Ayotte asked Carter during the first day of confirmation hearings.

"That you will commit to this committee and to all of us, that you will not allow the release of someone that you think could re-engage in terrorism so that our men and women in uniform will be confronted with them again."

Carter told the Senate Arms Services Committee he will not succumb to any pressure from the White House to expedite the release of detainees from Guantanamo.

"I'll play it absolutely straight," Carter said.

Ayotte was referring to former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who admitted that he felt pressured by the Obama administration to rush the release of detainees.

Ayotte also made the Defense Secretary nominee address the reports that one of the Taliban Five members exchanged for Bowe Bergdahl have reconnected with Islamic terrorists.

The Senate is expected to confirm Carter as Obama’s fourth Defense Secretary.