Former intel chief sparks new debate over Gitmo transfers

Former Sen. Scott Brown weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 13, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: It's the president vs. the former spy chief, as the battle over Gitmo heats up.

Welcome, everyone. I'm Stuart Varney in for Neil Cavuto. And this is "Your World."

Just as the White House is threatening to veto a bill that would limit Gitmo transfers, the president's former intelligence chief is speaking out, telling a House hearing today that places like Gitmo are needed to get intel from the bad guys in a timely manner.


LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: To be able to do tactical interrogation professionally.



FLYNN: But you can't -- if we bring them into the United States and they get read their habeas corpus rights, that -- that stops the process of being able to get the kind of information that you can get through very professionally done interrogations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have got to tell you, I have heard that argument a thousand times.

FLYNN: Hey, I have been involved in thousands of interrogation operations to be able to get to that point.


VARNEY: All right, well, does the general have it right?

To former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. He has been to Gitmo.

The general is saying, long-term, in-depth interrogation is what Gitmo does. Why did we close it?

SCOTT BROWN, R-FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, I don't believe you do.

I think there is a purpose. Let's just say we catch the number one terrorist or terrorists in the world. Where do you put them? What do you do with them? How do you interrogate them pursuant to our applicable laws?

Right now, if you get rid of Gitmo, they have to come here. I agree with the general 100 percent. They will be given rights that, quite frankly, they're not entitled to and they have not earned.

VARNEY: Well, why is the president so adamant that you close it and it close it now?

BROWN: Well, I think you know why. Because he is kowtowing to his base. He's because telling that ultra-liberal base, fulfilling a campaign promise.

And I know that -- and you're aware of it as well -- Senator Ayotte filed a bill. It came out of committee, obviously on a partisan basis.

And what it says is, hey, let's take a time-out for a minute. Let's find a way to slow things down, because, as we know, when these people are put back into the battle -- and, by the way, the remaining, most of them are from Yemen -- they're not going back to Yemen. So, where are they going to go? Just take a time-out and have the president come forth with a plan. That's what they have asked for, for years. And he does not have a plan.

VARNEY: But the president is taking enormous political risk.

BROWN: He doesn't care.

VARNEY: If you free these some of guys from Gitmo and they go out there, and it's proven that at least -- just one of them kills an American, that puts the president in a terrible position.

BROWN: Well, the president right now is obviously in the last year and three-quarters or so left in his term.

He really doesn't care. He is trying to fulfill a legacy. His legacy is probably to fulfill a campaign promise to shut Gitmo to satisfy his -ultra- left base.

VARNEY: Do you really think he doesn't care that a freed terrorist would kill an American? He doesn't care?


BROWN: No, I want to step back on that. Of course he cares about America. He cares that -- he doesn't want people killed from terrorists in America.

But he doesn't have a plan when it comes to Gitmo, not only closing Gitmo, but dealing with terrorists who are captured and need to be interrogated to find out what's next, using all means of legal interrogation pursuant to our applicable laws to find out what is next.

He doesn't have a plan. And that's what Senator Ayotte -- I spoke to Senator Ayotte today and I asked her point blank, well, why did you do this? Well, because the president is planning on releasing these terrorists. And we know there is a recidivism rate here. They go back into the battle.

A lot of these people that are left, they are high-risk. They're not being told -- the citizens -- American citizens are not being told what their background is, what crimes they have committed, how dangerous they actually are.

We need to have full transparency. And that is not happening with this administration.

VARNEY: I can see how Republicans would be behind a move to slow things down, slow the closing of Gitmo. But my real question is, how many Democrats would get on board with that? I mean, how many?

BROWN: Well, it was a partisan -- it was 14-12 out of committee.

I would believe and hope that there are some good moderate Democrats, good patriot Democrats who care deeply about the safety and security of country and want to make sure that we have a plan to close Gitmo. We have a plan to see what happens...


VARNEY: You have counted votes in your time.


VARNEY: Count these votes.

BROWN: Well, it's a different situation now. The Republicans are in charge. There are some Democrats that are still up for reelection, and they can kind of spread their wings now, because they're part of the process. They're actually filing amendments.

VARNEY: But you sound as Senator Ayotte's bill might just win.

BROWN: I certainly hope so. I hope everyone who is listening calls their senators, Democrat or Republican, and say, hey, listen, we need to bring it up.

I understand Leader McConnell is going to do that in short order. And I hope it does move forward.

VARNEY: Scott Brown, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

BROWN: Stuart, good to see you too.

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