House GOP: Gitmo only 'responsible and safe choice' for ISIS detainees

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A Republican congresswoman has introduced a resolution in support of sending captured Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters to the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, calling their release "completely nonsensical."

“As a result of these recent events, coupled with the lack of a long-term detainee strategy from the administration, the only responsible and safe choice is to send captured fighters to Guantánamo Bay,” Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) said in a written statement Tuesday. “Why would we capture these men and women, who are guilty of barbaric acts in the region and across the globe, only to release them back to the battlefield? It’s completely nonsensical.”

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The resolution comes a week after the Pentagon said it captured an ISIS leader, sparking questions about how to handle such prisoners. In that case, the Pentagon said it transferred the prisoner, ISIS chemical weapons manufacturer Sulayman Dawud al-Bakkar, to the custody of Iraq after U.S. forces used intelligence gleaned from him to strike ISIS chemical weapons facilities.

The Pentagon has said it will deal with potential future prisoners on a case-by-case basis.

In introducing the resolution, Walorski highlighted testimony from Special Operations Commander Gen. Joseph Votel, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that a long-term plan for future detainees is needed.

When asked where long-term prisoners would be held, Votel said, “That is a policy decision that, I think, is being debated.”

Republican lawmakers want those prisoners held at Guantánamo. Last week, more than a dozen GOP senators introduced a similar resolution calling for ISIS detainees to be sent to the detention center.

Walorski’s resolution was co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.). Colorado is home to one of the sites a Pentagon team assessed as a possible location to house current Guantánamo detainees should President Obama’s plan to close the facility move forward.

“Islamic State operatives are hardened terrorists and irregular enemy combatants who should be detained at GTMO, not in Colorado or in any other state,” Coffman said in a written statement, using the military abbreviation for Guantánamo and the administration's preferred name for ISIS. "This is yet another reason why GTMO must remain open to detain these individuals who pose a significant threat to U.S. national security.”