Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Almost nine months after signing legislation that required the Obama administration to release a report to Congress concerning the identities and backgrounds of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detention facility in Cuba, the Pentagon has finally produced a declassified report on over 100 detainees who are currently being held or have been recently released from Gitmo.
The Department of Defense has been reluctant to disclose much information about those being held at the detention center, but we already know from recent reporting, and the congressional testimony from a Pentagon official, that some former detainees who were transferred out of the facility had returned to the battlefield and are responsible for the deaths of Americans.
President Obama made an irresponsible campaign promise to close Gitmo before the end of his presidency. This report, along with comments from Administration officials about continued efforts to transfer Gitmo detainees, should be a wake-up call that President Obama intends to empty Gitmo since Congress has continually denied his demands to close it.
I’ve supported repeated attempts to block the Administration from shuttering the facility or transferring detainees to US soil, including introducing resolutions calling for fighters involved with the Islamic State (ISIS) to be detained at Gitmo if they are captured by the United States and formally rejecting President Obama’s plan to transfer prisoners from Gitmo to locations on American soil, as well as supporting legislation that would require the Secretary of Defense to notify Congress of any intended transfers of detainees and certify that they no longer pose a threat to national security.
Despite evidence of former Gitmo detainees recidivating into terrorist activity, the Obama administration has said that it will continue to work with countries willing to receive them.
This report sheds much-needed light on who these prisoners are and why it is important to continue holding them at the state-of-the-art Gitmo facility rather than releasing them to the care of other nations where some will undoubtedly return to the battlefield.
I will urge the president to reconsider his approach of transferring these dangerous prisoners and I will continue to use Congress’ oversight authority to keep the president from fulfilling an ill-thought campaign pledge that jeopardizes national security.