Barr hails Obama orders on Guantanamo, torture, tribunals

For Immediate Release Friday, January 23, 2009

Says steps start process to restore rule of law in America

Former Republican Congressman and Libertarian Presidential Candidate, Bob Barr, today issued a statement praising executive orders signed yesterday by President Obama ordering the closure of the military detention center at Guantanamo, restoring the practice of treating detainees according to legal norms, firmly stopping the practice of waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and doing away with the military tribunals that denied fundamental due process to detainees since their creation shortly after 911.

Barr, long a critic of steps taken by the former administration of George W. Bush to undermine civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights by, among other things, conducting electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens in their own country without court order and without any evidence of wrongdoing, said he “hopes these steps taken by the new president will be followed by further actions reestablishing the rule of law and respect for our Constitution that has been dramatically and unnecessarily eroded over the past seven years of the preceding administration.” For example, Barr said, “I hope President Obama will seek legislation curtailing the dramatic expansion of federal wiretapping power signed into law last July when former President Bush signed legislation expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that now makes every international phone call or e-mail by or to any person in the United States subject to warrantless surveillance.”

Barr also noted that arguments by supporters of these controversial powers that closing the prison at Guantanamo will increase dangers to America are unfounded, insofar as “any detainees against whom the government has evidence of terrorist acts, can try them or detain them in maximum security prisons, in military brigs, or in US military facilities overseas if necessary.” Moreover, Barr said, “the government has more than sufficient intelligence, military and law enforcement tools that are consistent with constitutional guarantees in the Bill of Rights, to provide robust and essential security for our country.”

Barr, a former Member of Congress (1995-2003), also served previously as a US Attorney and with the Central Intelligence Agency. He was the Libertarian nominee for President in 2008.

This press release from the office of Bob Barr.