National Security

Intelligence panel Republicans slam Obama over Gitmo transfer


Fourteen Republicans, including all 13 from the House Intelligence Committee, on Wednesday slammed the Obama administration for the recent transfer of 15 Guantánamo Bay detainees to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

{mosads}The Aug. 15 transfer was the largest from the controversial facility.

“As you continue to draw on the prisoner population at Guantanamo Bay, you are releasing increasingly dangerous terrorists who are more closely linked to al-Qa’ida and attacks against the U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Obama.

“Your actions increase the risk to U.S. forces and any injuries or deaths as a result are solely your responsibility.”

Six of the 15 transfers were unanimously approved by the six agencies that make up the Periodic Review Board, according to the Defense Department. The remaining nine were approved after the board determined none of the detainees pose a continuing “significant threat” to U.S. security.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) pushed back on that justification.

“About one third of previously released detainees have already resumed terrorist activities, and there is no reason to think this new group will be any different,” Nunes said in a statement. “It is preposterous to continue releasing dangerous terrorists who will try to kill Americans as soon as they have the opportunity to do so.”

The letter argues that several detainees trained in al Qaeda training camps fought at Tora Bora or served as bodyguard for Osama bin Laden.

The committee also pushed back on the notion that the released prisoners were compliant with interrogators and well-behaved while at the facility.

One Afghan detainee was considered “mostly compliant” because he committed fewer than 100 infractions since his arrival, “a low number relative to other detainees.”

“If 100 infractions is considered a low number, then the bar for acceptable behavior has skewed far from reality,” the letter reads.

Obama has said he hopes to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp before he leaves office, but opposition from Republicans in Congress has repeatedly blocked his attempts.

The transfer reduced the population at Guantánamo Bay’s facilities to 61 detainees.


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