Navy in 2015: Miramar not being considered for detainees

Today, the Scott Peters for Congress campaign released a fact-check on Denise Gitsham’s false and misleading statements about Scott Peters’ record on closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

“Denise Gitsham’s reckless statements regarding the prison at Guantanamo Bay are nothing more than scare tactics designed to mislead the voters; detainees are not coming to San Diego” said MaryAnne Pintar, campaign manager of Scott Peters for Congress.

“Navy leaders said more than a year ago that MCAS Miramar is not being surveyed as a destination for detainees. Either she is intentionally misrepresenting the facts, or she just doesn’t understand the votes the Congress has taken. Whichever it is, the voters deserve better,” said Pintar.

“Some of the nation’s most prominent military and national security leaders, Republicans and Democrats, believe closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay is the best approach to keep Americans safe. Just like Donald Trump, Denise Gitsham thinks she knows more than the generals,” she said.  

Here are some of the untruths and slip-ups from Denise Gitsham’s statements that voters and reporters should watch out for: 

Fiction: All of those detainees might have been sent here to San Diego.” (Denise Gitsham Interview 6/1/16)

Fact: San Diego is not being surveyed by the Pentagon as a possible site to relocate Guantanamo Bay detainees. As far back as August of 2015, Navy Commander Gary Ross said that Miramar was not on the list of sites that the Pentagon was surveying as possible replacements. This information is readily and publicly available. Any claims to the contrary are misrepresentations of the facts and outdated scare tactics.


Fiction: “Scott Peters […] votes to relocate detainees from Guantanamo Bay to San Diego.” (Denise Gitsham Facebook Post 5/23/16)

Fact: Congressman Peters has NEVER voted to relocate detainees anywhere, let alone San Diego. Congressman Peters has voted to give our military leaders the flexibility to come up with a plan to close the prison in the most efficient, secure way they see fit. He believes that our military leaders, not Congress, should decide how to handle suspected terrorists and where to house them.



Fact: The transfer of detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay to the United States is already prohibited under federal law. The only effect that H.R. 5351 would have is to ban the transfer of detainees to other countries. Congressman Peters’ opposition to this bill was consistent with his view that it is reckless to tell our military leaders how to handle and where to house suspected terrorists.


Fiction: “My opponent, Scott Peters, voted SEVEN times to close Guantanamo Bay, despite a vote directly from the San Diego city council expressing the opposite desire.” (Gitsham Website)

Fact: The city council resolution took no position on closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The resolution requested that Congress and the President remove MCAS Miramar from the list of possible locations to relocate detainees, which was in lockstep with Congressman Peters’ position.

Months before the city council resolution was considered, Peters gave the following statement to Defense One, “I supported giving our military commanders the flexibility to come up with a plan for moving prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, only if the proposed new location is a maximum security facility in a remote prison. I would oppose moving terrorists to the Miramar Brig; it does not fit that criteria.”

Also, prior to the city council resolution vote, Peters sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense stating his opposition to MCAS Miramar being considered as a possible location to relocate detainees. That letter was forwarded to the Office of Councilmember Chris Cate, who was pushing the resolution, prior to the vote to show the Congressman’s support.


Fiction: We’ve suffered long enough under Scott Peters — a representative who always puts politics ahead of doing what’s right for us. He’s been on the wrong side of every major policy decision over the past three years from […] to relocating Gitmo detainees to San Diego.” (Denise Gitsham News Release 6/8/16)

Fact: Congressman Peters was recently named one of the most independent members of Congress by Congressional Quarterly, and was named the fourth most independent Democrat in Congress by National Journal during his first term. His support for allowing the Pentagon to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay is rooted in a strong, smart approach to keeping Americans safe.

The prison at Guantanamo Bay is literally crumbling and costs taxpayers upwards of $450 million per year, or more than $7 million per detainee. The indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is unsustainable and serves as a recruiting tool for terrorist organizations. Scores of military and national security leaders from both parties, including Senator John McCain, General Colin Powell, and CIA Director John Brennan, support closing the prison because it threatens our security.

In fact, Denise Gitsham’s former employer, President George W. Bush, also supports closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, saying in his book Decision Points, “The difficulty of conducting trials made it harder to meet a goal I had set early in my second term: closing the prison at Guantanamo in a responsible way. While I believe opening Guantanamo after 9/11 was necessary, the detention facility had become a propaganda tool for our enemies and a distraction for our allies.”