Apr 12 2016

Bill Gives Congressional Oversight of GITMO Transfers

WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) helped introduce the Protections Against Terrorist Transfer Act of 2016 (S. 2780) along with U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and James Inhofe (R-OK). The legislation would provide Congressional oversight of the transfer or release of Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) detainees. It would prohibit the transfer or release of any individual detained at GITMO to the custody of any foreign country unless the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that the individual no longer poses a continuing threat to the security of the United States, its citizens and its interests.

“The Obama Administration’s previous transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo to other countries resulted in terrorists returning to the battlefield, jeopardizing the security of America and our allies,” said Senator Tillis. “This legislation will give Congress some much-needed oversight in the transfer process to ultimately help protect the safety and security of the American people and American servicemembers who are stationed abroad.”

The Protections Against Terrorist Transfer Act also retracts the automatic authorization to transfer or release an individual detained at GITMO after the submission of a 30-day notification to Congress. In its place, the legislation requires certification submission to the appropriate committees no later than 30 days after the Secretary makes a determination on the transfer or release.

The Obama Administration has been rapidly transferring detainees from GITMO since 2010, releasing nearly 70 GITMO detainees since November 2014. On Wednesday, the DoD announced the release of another 12 detainees to two countries, reducing the 91 remaining GITMO detainees to 79. As we know, GITMO detainees continue to return to terrorism, such as Ibrahim al-Qosi, now a spokesman and recruiter for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or most recently Muhammad Salih Husayn al-Shaykh who has pledged to kill as many Americans as possible. With the total reengagement rate of GITMO detainees returning to the battlefield at more than 30 percent, an individual detained at GITMO who poses a continuing threat to the security of the United States should be held at GITMO.