HATCH: DON'T CLOSE GUANTANAMO

Since January, the Obama administration's decision to close the Guantánamo Bay Detention Center was heralded with fanfare; however, there were few details on how they actually planned to do so by January 2010. Recently -- like the Titanic hitting an iceberg -- the unsinkable presidency hit its first obstacle.

Congressional Democrats wisely realized that requesting $80 million to close Guantánamo, without any plan on how to spend so much money, was a terrible idea. Not to mention the fact that Guantánamo is a $200 million investment that cannot be duplicated, and it is nearly impossible to determine how much more money it would cost to care for these terrorists domestically. I commend my colleagues on the other side of the aisle for recognizing this flawed proposal and supporting Republican amendments stripping those funds out of the war supplemental.

Before we close Guantánamo, the public should know exactly who the remaining detainees are and how closing the prison will help keep us safe.

• Of the approximately 240 detainees remaining at Guantánamo, 174 of them received or conducted training at al Qaeda camps and facilities in Afghanistan; 112 participated in armed hostilities against U.S. and coalition forces; and 64 either worked for or had direct contact with Osama bin Laden.

• Of the 240 detainees, 17 are Chinese Uighurs who all have demonstrable ties to the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, a designated terrorist organization since 2004 that is known for its terrorist threats against the 2008 Beijing Olympics and its close ties to al Qaeda members. Hassan Mahsun, one of the trainers for the Uighurs, was an associate of Osama bin Laden, and when the group traveled to Afghanistan -- where they were later captured -- they lodged in al Qaeda safe houses and terrorist training facilities.

Recently, Attorney General Holder described the closure of Guantánamo as ''good for all nations.'' He argued that anger over the prison has become a ''powerful global recruiting tool for terrorists.'' But neither he nor anyone else has yet demonstrated a strong analytic understanding of what is motivating terrorist recruitment. Terrorist groups did not appear to face a shortage of recruits prior to the media frenzy on Guantánamo.

Violent jihadists are ideologically motivated. Closing Guantánamo in the next eight months is not going to be a ''silver bullet'' and solve the problem of terrorist recruitment. For this and other reasons, I am not willing to trade Guantánamo for the possibility of trying to appease and become more popular with our critics in foreign countries.

Sadly, Guantánamo's epitaph was written the day the executive orders to close it were signed, even though it is still an asset to this country. I don't see how anyone who is honest about the matter can characterize it any other way.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is the senior Republican and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.