John Brennan, the White House’s chief counterterrorism adviser, laments that 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, many in Washington are still playing politics with the issue of terrorism.
"In the political environment, the thing I am most disappointed with is when politics comes into the issue of national security," Brennan told reporters at a breakfast Thursday, the Huffington Post reported. He said he is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and stated that members of both parties "try to take advantage for political gain in the aftermath of failed attempts."
Politicians "are the first ones to point fingers at the other party and I don't think that is appropriate. That's one of the things that dismays counterterrorism professionals throughout the government,” Brennan said.
"This is an effort by Americans and for Americans against a threat and I think this is where our politicians really need to rally behind our efforts. ... If people haven't ridden in the saddle of the counterterrorism cavalry, people really don't understand how difficult and challenging it is,” he said.
Specifically, Brennan talked about the administration’s frustration with not yet reaching its goal of shutting down the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. Polarized politics is to blame, according to Brennan.
"We're not going to bring people to Guantanamo. It's this administration's policy to close Guantanamo and, despite some congressional hurdles that were put in our path, we're going to continue to pursue that," he said, according to Politico.
Guantanamo Bay developed a notorious reputation after images of shackled detainees in orange jumpsuits splattered across the front pages of American newspapers in 2002. Human rights groups began questioning the interrogation techniques used at the camp.
The Department of Defense says that it maintains high standards of conduct for the guards at Guantanamo. However, many are critical of former President George W. Bush’s decision to send many detainees to Guantanamo, where most have been held without trial.
Despite efforts to close Guantanamo, the White House has not ruled out other venues in the United States for holding military tribunals of suspected terrorists.
Brennan has made several pleas to Congress that Guantanamo detainees be transferred to facilities in the country, but his requests have been denied.
According to Politico, Brennan also said he didn’t "subscribe to the theory" that another attack is not a matter of if but when. The nation is “much better postured” to protect itself from an outside attack today than it was 10 years ago, Brennan said.
Brennan’s remarks come as the country reported unconfirmed, but specific, threats of terrorist attacks on Sunday in relation to the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks.