WASHINGTON — Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) criticized Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s call for a stop to force-feedings at Guantanamo on Wednesday, saying that in his recent visit to the facility the practice had appeared to be in step with standards.
“I was down at Guantanamo not terribly long ago, two or three weeks ago,” Pompeo told BuzzFeed. “I was walked through the process by which these detainees were being fed. We were told that the process that they were doing is completely consistent with what’s being done by the federal Bureau of Prisons.”
Feinstein sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Wednesday criticizing the practice for being out of line with federal and international norms and calling for it to end.
In an interview, Pompeo asked what Feinstein would propose instead for feeding prisoners on hunger strike.
“She wants them to die?” he asked. “Did she give an alternative?”
“I must say they have a very difficult situation with a group of folks who are attempting to make a political statement, and trying to stir hostility from the left wing here in the United States in an effort to convince America that the detention center should be closed,” Pompeo said. “They want to be set free. My judgment on that is, if someone can present to me an alternative that makes sense I’m happy to consider it.”
Pompeo, who spoke on the House floor last week against closing Guantanamo, wouldn’t say whether he thinks it should remain open indefinitely.
“These detainees must be kept away from killing Americans indefinitely,” Pompeo said. “The president declared the war on terror over, he’s wrong. We’ve got folks that have killed thousands of Americans there. The solution which has been provided so far, which is to bring them back into the United States, is unworkable.”
“The Guantanamo detention is consistent with international norms,” he said.