House chairman: Congress must ‘return sanity’ to Gitmo release process

The new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday said lawmakers should act to prevent President Obama from releasing more prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"Once again the President is releasing terrorists into the world with little regard to the likelihood that they will re-enter the fight, or for the risk to our forces already in harm’s way,” Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Trump defends using DOD funds on border wall: 'Some of the generals think that this is more important' Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents MORE (R-Texas) said in a statement.

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While the administration “may claim that safeguards are in place or that the track record of re-engagement is negligible; but those of us who read intelligence reports regularly have reason to be skeptical,” according to Thornberry, who previously chaired the panel’s emerging threats subcommittee and served on the House Intelligence Committee.

"Action is needed to return sanity to this process,” he said.

Thornberry’s comments come the day after the Defense Department announced it would transfer five more prisoners overseas, the latest in a renewed push by the administration to shutter the controversial detention facility.

Earlier this week Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and GOP panel members Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), rolled out legislation that would prohibit the president from transferring more detainees out of Cuba.

On Wednesday Thornberry suggested his panel might draft similar legislation, something he echoed in his statement, saying the Senate's proposed bill is “worthy of careful consideration.”

“The status quo of cutting terrorists loose with little assurance that they will not take up arms or plot and plan against us is more than foolish — it’s dangerous,” he said. “The president’s actions increase the risk to both our military and Americans everywhere."