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Hassan Ducks Question on What to Do With Gitmo Terrorists

Ayotte among 91 senators opposed to closing Gitmo

Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base / AP
• November 10, 2015 3:05 pm

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New Hampshire Democrat Maggie Hassan dodged questions about her support for President Obama’s plan to close the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Monday evening.

A tracker with conservative research firm America Rising PAC asked Hassan where she would house suspected terrorists after closing down the overseas prison, as she was leaving a fundraiser with a Koch Brothers lobbyist.

"Governor, why do you support bringing enemy combatants to the U.S.?" the videographer asked.

Hassan ignored the question and boarded a waiting black car. Her campaign did not respond to request for comment.

America Rising spokesperson Amelia Chassé said that Guantanamo demonstrates the disconnect between Hassan and the constituents she hopes to represent.

"Granite Staters who oppose bringing Guantanamo Bay terrorists into the country are breathing a sigh of relief that Governor Hassan isn’t in the Senate, given her support for President Obama’s dangerous plan to transfer detainees to the United States," Chassé said in a release. "Governor Hassan has made it clear that she’s more concerned about cozying up to national Democrats than answering questions from New Hampshire voters." 

Hassan is challenging first-term Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in the 2016 race. Ayotte has been a forceful opponent of bringing prisoners captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq to American detention facilities. She appeared on Fox News on Tuesday to discuss her support for a bipartisan bill that would block President Obama from shuttering Guantanamo Bay.

"There has long been a prohibition on transferring these terrorist detainees to the United States of America," Ayotte told Fox News host Bill Hemmer. "These individuals have various backgrounds, terrorist financiers, recruiters. They’ve been involved in facilitating terrorism. Some have been bodyguards to Osama bin Laden. These are not individuals that we should transfer to the United States of America."

President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay during his first White House run in 2008 but has been unsuccessful in finding locales willing to house the terrorists. The Senate voted 91-3 on Tuesday to prevent Obama from transferring Guantanamo prisoners stateside.

Hassan said in October that she was open to following Obama’s lead.

"Hassan said she would consider closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison, but only in a context that ensures the protection of U.S. citizens," the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

Conservative activists in the state have criticized Hassan’s refusal to elaborate on her plan for jailing terrorists. Derek Dufresne, spokesman for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, urged Hassan to "clarify" her position.

"Governor Maggie Hassan has blatantly said that she would consider closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison. If that truly is her position on this important national security issue, Granite Staters have every right to know what she would propose doing with the remaining 112 detainees. Regrettably, she continues to be unable to provide answers," he said in a statement. "It is time for Maggie to stop ignoring her constituents and clarify whether she would actually support efforts to move these dangerous individuals to facilities that are only hours from the New Hampshire border."

President Obama is expected to sign the Senate bill despite his desire to close the prison.