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Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The same man who led the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp through its founding years now says the prison should be closed.

U.S. Major Gen. Michael Lehert, retired, was the first Gitmo commander. But now he says that terrorists have been "successful" in changing America and that the prison has played a major role in striking at the Constitution, CNN reported.

"We need to move forward," he said, in CNN. "We need to say that the Constitution doesn't stop at our water's edge and that we need to close Guantanamo."

Mr. Lehert also said he was on board at the beginning stages of Gitmo because he thought the facility was only going to remain open and operational for a short time.

"But as I was down there, by about the second month, I realized that we were going to be in for the long haul," he said, to CNN. "I also began to recognize that many of the individuals that had been sent to me probably never should have been sent there in the first place."

He called the act of jailing somebody a "soul-deadening" experience, in CNN. And he said closing the facility — as President Obama has promised for years — would not lead to any security dent to America.

"We have the best military in the world," Mr. Lehert, CNN reported. "We have very clear biometrics on these individuals" and can track and monitor their movements around the world."

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