While discussing some of President Obama's recent executive orders and how Republicans are going to respond when they take over as the majority in the upcoming session of Congress, Cheney stenographer and Weekly Standard writer Stephen Hayes did his best to continue the rights' fearmongering over the possibility of President Obama finally closing Gitmo and opined about his administration getting those pesky human rights lawyers involved when it came to classifying what sort of risk the remaining prisoners posed.
I've got a suggestion for Hayes and his ilk if he's so sure these prisoners deserve to be locked up for the rest of their lives -- put them on trial. And there's absolutely no reason that any of them could not safely be housed in a maximum security prison here in the United States, unless of course they're worried that they've been wrongly imprisoned in the first place and don't want them to have access to our court system in the United States.
WALLACE: Steve, do you buy that, as the new Republican majority in a box?
HAYES: Yes. I think it's difficult for them to practically do much to stop the president. Although I disagree strongly with Jason, I'm not optimistic at all that either Republicans or the president are going to try to work together in any kind of a concerted way.
I think you're going to have basically a year of the two parties and the two major ends of Pennsylvania Avenue talking past one another. The president is going to push forward with executive orders, do everything he possibly can, push the limits, maybe go beyond the limits as I think has in a couple cases already, and Republicans are going to do everything they can to set forth an alternative agenda that they're not going to be much. But I agree they would like to make the president be the obstructionist. They would like the president to be, you know, the party of no, the Democrats to be the party of no.
Will it be covered that way? I'm not very optimistic.
WALLACE: Let me, before I get to you, Bob, let me ask you, Steve, about one potential flashpoint that I know that you've been covering and that's Guantanamo, because this president seems very determined to do everything he can to close the prison at Guantanamo. It now holds 132 detainees, that's the fewest since President Bush opened the facility.
Steve, how explosive if President Obama continues to go down this path?
HAYES: Very, I think. And you'll see Republicans almost unanimous in their opposition to what the president does. But the group I'll be watching is Democrats.
Democrats in Congress, whatever moderate Democrats are left in Congress, do they support the president as he goes about emptying Guantanamo? I mean, there are reports that he wants to release or transfer another three, four dozen of the detainees who remain there of the 150-some-odd detainees who remain there to this day. Detainees who are there to this day are there for a reason. These are the worst of the worst that we've been hearing about.
WALLACE: Well, wait. Of the 132, I think about 68 have been cleared for release. One could argue whether they should be. But you're right, 64 of them have not been cleared for release and those certainly are the worst of the worst.
HAYES: Well, of those who have been cleared for release, it's important to understand what happened. There was the original Guantanamo Joint Task Force, the intel that made these assessments high risk, medium risk, low risk, in terms of transfers.
Then, the president empanelled a separate board, which reviewed what the work of the intelligence professionals and re-categorized a lot of these. And the president's board, which was made up a lot of human rights lawyer, folks who are more sympathetic to emptying Guantanamo, not surprisingly came to different conclusions than the intelligence specialists.
WALLACE: But you're saying all of these are high risks.
HAYES: Cleared for release does not mean innocent or somebody who is not a risk.