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Senator Lankford Speaks on Senate Floor About National Security, Iran and Guantanamo Bay Detention

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor about national security. Specifically, he discussed radical Islam, America’s leadership role against terrorism, his Iran Nuclear Accountability resolution, and legislation to restrict detainee transfers from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.   



Introduction: Oklahomans are concerned about National Security:

As I traveled all over Oklahoma during the state work weeks in March, I heard the concerns over and over from families in my state about terrorism. I talked with a gentleman in Colgate, OK who absolutely could not understand how the United States could release $1 billion to Iran the same month that rural hospitals across our state and across America were facing new cuts from CMS, a new criteria there. That billion dollars that was sent the United States to Iran could have bailed out every single rural hospital in America. I talked to a mom in Lawton that did not understand why there was a conversation in D.C. about closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and bringing those individuals into the United States. I talked to a dad in Tulsa, that is a dad of a soldier, that wanted to know what’s happening with terrorism and what’s America’s response. I talked to an Oklahoma business owner who is very, very concerned about cybersecurity and the threat of foreign governments attacking his network and other networks and businesses being attacked around the country.


Terrorist attack in Brussels

As details came out about what happened in Brussels in that terrorist attack, every American has in mind their security and their family. I continue to pray for the victims of those awful attacks and work to determine the best way our great nation can confront this threat. As the only member of this body that serves in both the Homeland Security Committee and the Intelligence Committee, I have the privilege to ensure that Oklahomans and Americans have a strong voice in the discussion over our nation’s national security priorities.


Radical Islamic terrorism must be confronted:

Right now members of radical Islamic groups around the world are calling out on social media through encrypted messages and public forums around the world for the small minority of Muslims who believe like they do and believe in their hate-filled doomsday mission. They tell people that if they believe like they do, they should kill like they do. ISIS is enraged by our views about free speech, freedom of religion, girls attending school, equal pay, equal opportunity and even voting in elections. It’s almost impossible for Americans to imagine their hatred for the modern world and for freedom and basic human rights. So how do you win against an enemy like that? You confront them is how you do it, not ignore them. You deal with their ideology that spreads like a cancer around social media platforms around the world. Some people say poverty and lack of education creates radicalism. Well, I would tell you there are billions of people in the world that live in poverty. Most of them do not practice this particular form of radical Islam. 


America must take a leadership role:

We can’t put our head in the sand and ignore what is really happening and assume it will just go away if we do nothing. As long as they hold territory, they call out to people worldwide to come join them in their caliphate to come fight for them or to fight where they are. We’re Americans. We lose track of that at times, I’m afraid. No one in the world has the same logistical capability as the United States of America. No one in the world has the most moral, most powerful military in the world like the United States of America. No one has our intelligence capability. No one in the world has our tactical planning capability. So the whole world is waiting on America to decide what we’re going to do so they can decide if they’re going to join us in this fight against this radical Islamic terrorism.


Iran Nuclear Accountability Resolution:

I’ve stood here several times in the past year to speak out against the President’s reckless nuclear deal with the Iranian Ayatollah. I didn’t like it then. I still don’t like it, and I still don’t believe Iran can be trusted to be able to carry out its end of the bargain. I recently offered a resolution that clearly outlines to the Administration how the United States should respond if and when Iran breaches the nuclear agreement. We should reapply a wave of sanctions and U.N. Security Counsel resolutions and limit Iran’s ability to input defensive equipment so they can stop fortifying their nuclear capabilities over the next ten years. And when all the enrichment limitations are lifted they’ll be well-prepared to defend the facilities they’ve now created. As I’ve said many times, until Iran proves it is a peaceful, reasonable player in the Middle East, the international community must be vigilant at pushing back against Iran’s harmful and destructive influence among its neighbors. 


Legislation that restricts detainee transfers from Guantanamo Bay detention facility:

I can’t believe I have to even raise this as an issue in this nation. We should keep Guantanamo Bay, what is known as GITMO detention facility open and operational rather than releasing known terrorists back into the battlefield or bringing them to the United States. In this era of growing threats, why would we irresponsibly release these individuals? Senator Kirk and I along with four other members of this body, introduced a bill last week to prohibit the President from transferring terrorists detained in Guantanamo Bay to any other state where they may go and actually sponsor terrorism. It is not a hard decision. It’s common sense. Our bill is very clear. If those individuals are transferred out of Guantanamo to some other state and then they later commit some act of terrorism, that state’s foreign aid is cut off. The expectation is if these individuals go to that location, that location is going to actually monitor them. Now, Americans assume that at this point but it’s not happening. Senator Inhofe and I will introduce a bill later today which prohibits the transfer of detainees to the United States or the release of any terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. It also goes farther than what we do with Senator Kirk’s bill and that is it actually prohibits the President from closing the facility entirely. The President should not risk our nation’s national security just to fulfill some campaign promise that makes absolutely no sense and puts our nation at risk.


Conclusion: Leadership is needed to set our national security agenda:

So today, I simply ask my colleagues to join me in doing what the people that we represent sent us here to do: Assume the mantle of responsibility as leaders, that we are not afraid to work with this Administration or any administration and take responsibility for setting the nation’s national security agenda. It must be done. It can’t be done just militarily, but it must be done in a broad method of reaching out not only strategically through our State Department and diplomatically but also militarily with a clear focus to make sure that we protect the nation. Don’t release terrorists and actually do what we are supposed to do, guard this nation’s security.