This week, I was part of the first U.S. House of Representatives delegation to tour Joint Task Force-Guantanamo since President Obama signed three Executive Orders on January 22 requiring the center to be closed within one year. The terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay houses the worst of the worst.  The detainees are high value targets and serve in the top leadership positions of al Qaeda and the Taliban.  Many of them have direct ties to Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks.  And as a former federal prosecutor I have grave concerns.

Wednesday, during her testimony before the Homeland Security Committee, I asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to give careful consideration and exercise caution on the decision as to where to move these individuals in the event the facility closes.  I’m very concerned that if transferred to the United States, that some of the federal rules of evidence will allow them to be released because of perhaps relying on intelligence information to prosecute, or on confessions that may not come into evidence.

The President’s orders center around alleged mistreatment of detainees.  However, in accordance with the President’s directive, the Pentagon inspected the detention center and found the treatment of detainees to be in accordance with the Geneva Convention.  They receive up to seven hours per day outside of their cells for recreational activity, have more than adequate access to healthcare, have accommodations for religious practices, and are not subjected to torture.  I got the impression our military is bending over backwards to accommodate them.  Their treatment is arguably better than what’s received in most federal prisons I’ve seen.

To see the terrorists who helped orchestrate September 11th and other attacks against Americans, inside their cells, is a chilling experience.  These are not amateur criminals but terrorists who commit their lives to killing Americans.

My recent trip to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility has reaffirmed my commitment to stopping the center from closing or at least stopping the transfer of detainees to the United States.  I have co-sponsored H.R. 630, the Enemy Combatant Detention Review Act, to prevent the relocation.  I hope that all Members of Congress and the Obama administration will strongly consider the ramifications of bringing them here.