Ayotte alarmed by sped-up Gitmo reviews

Ayotte alarmed by sped-up Gitmo reviews
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Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R-N.H.) is alarmed by the Obama administration's aggressive moves to whittle down the number of "forever prisoners" at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. 

The administration has been considering two detainees per week for transfer since mid-April, up from two to three per month earlier this year. The number of reviews of such detainees in 2016 is nearly double the number in 2015. 


"The safety of Americans and our national security interests — not political timelines or misguided campaign promises — should govern decisions regarding terrorist detainees at Guantanamo," Ayotte told The Hill on Thursday.

The boards don't render judgment on whether a detainee is guilty of terrorist activities, but rather whether continued law-of-war detention is necessary to protect against a "continuing significant threat" to the U.S.  

The administration aims to finish reviewing all remaining cases by fall, according to Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross. 

The review boards are part of the administration's plan to transfer as many prisoners to other countries and bring the remaining 30 to 60 detainees to a facility in the U.S., possibly in Kansas, Colorado or South Carolina. 

Earlier this week, Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTrump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Democrats worry Trump team will cherry-pick withheld documents during defense What to watch for on day 4 of the Senate impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.) noted the upcoming deployment of a South Carolina Army National Guard unit to Guantanamo. 

“As the 131st Military Police Company prepares to serve our nation in Cuba, I again call on the Obama administration to immediately abandon their reckless plan to close Guantanamo Bay and move these dangerous terrorists to any domestic facility, including possibly to the Naval Brig in Hanahan," he said in a statement earlier this week.

"Guantanamo is the best place in the world for us to house these detainees, period."

Senators will likely seek to renew restrictions on bringing detainees to the U.S. in an annual defense authorization bill drafted by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which Ayotte sits on. 

Ayotte earlier this year introduced the Detaining Terrorists to Protect Americans Act, which would bar the president from transferring any detainee to any foreign country, and renew a prohibition on the closure of the Guantanamo Bay facility and any transferring detainees to the U.S. 

The House Armed Services Committee last week passed its annual defense authorization bill, which would also renew restrictions on closing the facility and bringing detainees to the U.S. The bill will head to the House floor in May. 

Amid GOP opposition, President Obama said in an interview earlier this week that he is still considering unilateral action to close the facility. 

"We're going to look at everything ... but we think the best way to do it is for Congress to get smart on this," he said in an interview with WMUR. 

A spokesman for House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power Social security emerges as latest flash point in Biden-Sanders tussle Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party MORE (R-Wis.) blasted that comment. 

"Congress doesn’t need to 'get smart' on this issue. The president should listen to the American people and abandon this dangerous plan," spokesman Michael Shapiro said in a statement.