GOP resolution calls for sending captured ISIS fighters to Gitmo

GOP resolution calls for sending captured ISIS fighters to Gitmo

Over a dozen GOP senators, including presidential candidates Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioAna Navarro lashes out at Rubio for calling outrage over Trump's 'go back' tweet 'self righteous' US-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE (Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz2 Republican senators introduce resolution to label antifa as domestic terrorists Ted Cruz: Trump's chances of winning reelection are '50-50' How to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian energy MORE (Texas), introduced a resolution Thursday to send detained Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters to Guantánamo Bay. 

The resolution comes a day after the Pentagon said it captured an ISIS leader on the battlefield, sparking new questions about how to handle such prisoners.

The commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Gen. Joseph Votel said on Tuesday there was a need to detain some terror suspects long-term, but where they would be held was under debate.

The Republican senators say the military prison at Guantánamo, which President Obama is working to close, should house the ISIS detainees.

ADVERTISEMENT

“More than seven years in, the Obama administration still does not have a coherent detention policy that will give our military and intelligence community the best opportunity to extract valuable intelligence to help defeat ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks," said Rubio. "This White House would rather release terrorists from Guantánamo Bay and hope for the best." 

“Jihadists who seek to kill Americans should not be brought to American soil. The security of our people, not political expediency, should guide decisions regarding prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay,” added Cruz.

Introduced by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the resolution is just the latest vigorous protest by Republican senators against Obama's plan to transfer all eligible detainees out of the facility. The president wants to bring the remaining 30 to 60 detainees to an alternate location in the U.S.

Earlier this week, Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Pompeo on Senate run: 'I always leave open the possibility that something will change' CNN's Cuomo spars with Kris Kobach over whether Trump's tweet was racist MORE (R-Okla.) introduced a resolution to block Obama from closing the facility. 

“Last week when I was at Guantánamo Bay I saw plenty of vacant cells,” Daines said. “Terrorists captured by U.S. forces belong in Guantánamo, a location that has played a pivotal role for collecting intelligence from detainees and keeping terrorists off the battlefield in the global war on terror." 

"Instead of closing Guantánamo Bay, the Administration should transfer detained ISIL fighters to the facility," added co-sponsor Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerTrump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout MORE (Colo.), using an alternate name for the group. "This resolution paves the way to do just that, while preventing grants of new rights to terrorists." 

Other co-sponsors of the resolution include Republican Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonLawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Five things to know about Iran's breaches of the nuclear deal Hillicon Valley: Trump gets pushback after reversing course on Huawei | China installing surveillance apps on visitors' phones | Internet provider Cloudflare suffers outage | Consumer groups look to stop Facebook cryptocurrency MORE (Ark.), Mark KirkMark Steven KirkAdvocates push for EpiPens on flights after college student's mid-flight allergic reaction Funding the fight against polio Ex-GOP Sen. Kirk registers to lobby MORE (Ill.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (Utah), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonGeorgia senator discharged from hospital after fall Georgia senator hospitalized after fall Senate GOP raises concerns about White House stopgap plan to avoid shutdown MORE (Ga.), John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanVA chief pressed on efforts to prevent veteran suicides McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal There is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen MORE (Ark.), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenate panel advances Pentagon chief, Joint Chiefs chairman nominees Trump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing Trump says US will not sell Turkey F-35s after Russian missile defense system purchase MORE (Okla.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottGraham: Every Republican president or nominee 'will be accused of being a racist' Sanford calls for 'overdue conversation' on debt as he mulls Trump challenge The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet MORE (S.C.), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranEpstein charges show Congress must act to protect children from abuse Bottom Line Senate GOP raises concerns about White House stopgap plan to avoid shutdown MORE (Kan.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterLobbying World Senate confirms Trump judge who faced scrutiny over abortion views Collins votes against Trump judicial pick MORE (La.).

The senators argue that as more terrorists are captured on the battlefield, there should be a place to hold and interrogate them for more intelligence.  

"President Obama’s default foreign policy strategy has been to kill off high-ranking ISIL fighters with drones instead of attempting to detain them to glean valuable intelligence information,” Inhofe said. "This has weakened our nation’s ability to more quickly make advancements in the Middle East." 

Opponents of the plan also argue that continuing to transfer detainees to other countries poses a threat to the U.S. 

On Monday, the intelligence community released its latest statistics on recidivism, which showed that the number of detainees suspected of reengaging in terrorism after being released by President Obama doubled from six to 12 in the six months prior to January. 

"No other facility can house terrorists as securely as Guantánamo, which is where we should be sending ISIS terrorists when they are captured by our brave servicemen and servicewomen in the field," said Kirk, a retired Navy reservist who faces a tough reelection fight this year.

“We should detain ISIS terrorists at Guantánamo as we cannot afford to release them into Iraqi custody and risk that these terrorists will end up right back on the battlefield," added Ernst, a retired Army lieutenant colonel.

Opponents also argue that the presence of detainees on U.S. soil could pose a threat to local communities. The Pentagon has surveyed potential U.S. sites in Kansas, Colorado and South Carolina.

"Captured militants affiliated with ISIL and other terrorist groups are dangerous and should be held at Guantánamo Bay, not in Kansas or anywhere else in the United States," said Moran. 

The administration argues that Gitmo provides propaganda for terrorists and is too expensive to maintain, at several million dollars per detainee. 

But some opponents say the administration is bent on fulfilling a campaign promise to close the facility. 

"Our facilities at Guantánamo offer a secure, lawful and humane option for detaining terrorists, and the administration’s misguided ideological agenda should not foreclose its continued use," Hatch said. 

"As we continue combat operations against the Islamic State, the Senate should again make it clear that Guantánamo and other facilities abroad offer the best alternatives for holding terrorists and collecting vital intelligence from them," he added. 

This story was updated at 11:15 a.m.