GOP senators to Trump: We support 'maintaining and expanding' Gitmo

GOP senators to Trump: We support 'maintaining and expanding' Gitmo
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Eleven Republican senators are encouraging President Trump to follow through on his pledge to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open and send any new captives there, as well as immediately suspend a parole-like review board.

“As you consider policies and actions that may affect [Guantanamo], we want to express our support for maintaining and expanding the utilization of the detention facility during your administration by detaining current and future enemy combatants who pose a threat to our national security,” the senators wrote in a letter to Trump released Monday.

The signatories of the letter were all staunch opponents of former President Obama’s efforts to close the facility.

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During the campaign, Trump promised to load Guantanamo up with “bad dudes.”

Since his inauguration, drafts have circulated of an executive order keeping Guantanamo open and calling for potential Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captives to be sent there, though no such order has yet been signed.

In their letter, the senators wrote that they were encouraged by Trump’s campaign statements about Guantanamo, which they refer to by its military acronym GTMO. 

“During your campaign and transition to the presidency, we were pleased to learn you share our perspective that enemy combatants affiliated with ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban and other foreign terrorist organization captured during conflicts involving our armed forces should be housed at GTMO,” they wrote.

The senators also called for a “full and judicious” review of the Period Review Board, the parole-like interagency board established by Obama in 2011 to decide whether to transfer detainees. In the meantime, the board should be “suspended immediately,” they wrote, as should the transfers of the five current detainees that have already been cleared by the board.

The senators highlighted the director of national intelligence’s assessment that 30 percent of Guantanamo detainees released by both Obama and President George W. Bush are confirmed to be or suspected of re-engaging in terrorism.

For transfers just by Obama, that number is 12.4 percent, according to the director's most recent report in September.

But the senators called the board’s process “dangerously flawed by subjectivity and broad interpretation.”

“As we continue to engage in conflicts and combat operations around the world,” they wrote, “the critical mission the GTMO serves in detaining terrorists who threaten the lives of not only our servicemen, but all American, cannot be stressed enough.”