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President Bush Responds to a Media Inquiry About the Supreme Court Decision on Military Trials for Guantanamo Detainees

CQ Transcripts Wire
Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:09 PM

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

You've said that you wanted to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay but you were waiting for the Supreme Court decision that came out today. Do you intend now to close Guantanamo Bay quickly? And how do you deal with the suspects that you said were too dangerous to be released or sent home?

BUSH: You know, I -- thank you for the question on the court ruling that literally came out in the midst of my meeting with the prime minister. And so I haven't had a chance to fully review the findings of the Supreme Court.

BUSH: I, one, assure you that we take them very seriously.

Two, that to the extent that there is latitude to work with the Congress to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court, we will do so.

The American people need to know that this ruling, as I understand it, won't cause killers to be put out on the street. In other words, there's not a -- as I had a drive-by briefing on the way here, I was told that this was not going to be the case.

At any rate, we will seriously look at the findings, obviously.

And one thing I'm not going to do, though, is I'm not going to jeopardize the safety of the American people. People got to understand that. I understand we're in a war on terror, that these people were picked up off of a battlefield, and I will protect the people and at the same time conform with the findings of the Supreme Court.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: I haven't had a chance to fully review what the court said. I wish I had; I could have given you a better answer.

As I say, we take the findings seriously.

And, again, as I understand it -- now, please don't hold me to this -- that there is a way forward with military tribunals in working with the United States Congress. As I understand, certain senators have already been out expressing their desire to address what the Supreme Court found. And we will work with the Congress.

I want to find a way forward. In other words, I have told the people that I would like for there to be a way to return people from Guantanamo to their home countries. But some people need to be tried in our courts, and the Hamdan decision was the way forward for that part of my statement.

BUSH: And, again, I would like to review the case. And we are. We got people looking at it right now to determine how we can work with Congress, if that's available, to solve the problem.

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