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Washington Times: “Congress Deals Death Blow to Gitmo Closure”

Dec 13, 2010
Defense Drumbeat
House Democrats Concede to Public Will; Still Silent on Detainee Transfers from Guantanamo to Other Countries

Washington, D.C. (December 8, 2010)—Nearly two years after President Obama announced his intention to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Congressional Democrats have finally conceded to public will and included a straight prohibition on importing terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, into the United States.  However, House Republicans raised concerns that the Democratic Majority’s Full-Year Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011 “is silent regarding transfers to other countries.”

The Washington Times reported today that the Full-Year Continuing Resolution “refuses to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and would block the transfer of any suspected terrorist detainees to the United States in what appears to be the final blow for President Obama’s campaign pledge to shutter the facility.”

Further, “The massive spending bill Democrats released early Wednesday morning would prohibit the Obama Administration from spending any money either to transfer detainees to the United States or to buy a replacement prison in the United States, as Mr. Obama had planned.”

House Republicans have consistently opposed the Administration’s efforts to transfer or release detainees held at Guantanamo Bay—either into the United States or other countries.  A Statement of Republican Policy issued today underscored the importance of keeping these terrorists detained at Guantanamo: “These detainees represent the worst of the worst and still pose threats to U.S. national security and to our allies.”

The statement continued, “While House Republicans are pleased the Democratic Majority has finally included a straight prohibition on importing the detainees into the United States and on purchasing facilities to detain them here, there is still a concern that the Full-Year CR is silent regarding transfers to other countries.”

Considering new press reports regarding a higher recidivism rate of released or transferred detainees than previously stated, the statement expressed that “House Republicans are strongly disappointed and will be addressing this issue in the 112th Congress.”

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, recently outlined his priorities for detainee policy in the 112th Congress at a leadership forum sponsored by the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).  Specifically, McKeon highlighted the following during his remarks:     

Camp V at Guantanamo Bay

“We will also focus on detainee policy. The days of U.S. courts making policy through case law must come to an end.  Armed Services Committee Members will work to craft a legislative framework for terrorist detention that protects the homeland, respects the rule of law, and upholds our high ideals. We need to keep terrorists off of our soil, not invite them here and pay for their legal representation…

…“Make no mistake: the Armed Services Committee will conduct thorough oversight of this Administration’s detainee policies and work to legislate a framework that is guided by the law of armed conflict—not the criminal justice system.”

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111th Congress

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