Washington D.C. (Link)– House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to the release of a report from the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee on detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:
The minority members of the Oversight and Investigations Committee did not sign on to the report. Instead, the members responded by providing supplemental “Dissenting Views” and an “Additional Statement from Rep. Jim Cooper, joined by other minority members of the Oversight and Investigation Committee.”
“As the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I strongly believe that we must have a legal, coherent and effective strategy to deal with detainees and prisoners of war. I am committed to working with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to develop a comprehensive approach that ensures the national security of the United States.
“While I believe the Administration’s current approach is not perfect, it has clearly improved over time and it continues to get better. In a constructive way, Congress should play an active role in continuing to refine this policy. Congress should also utilize its oversight authorities to ensure a coherent and legal detainee policy is in place.
“It was my hope that this report would play a role in developing that strategy. Unfortunately, it does not. In fact, the report may very well distract us from the core national security issues at stake. For example, the report does not, in a thorough way, entertain the national security gains of shutting down the facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This is a goal that the Bush Administration sought to achieve, and it is rightly a goal of the Obama Administration. I continue to believe that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is a black eye for our on nation abroad, serving as a powerful recruiting tool for terrorist. We have the ability to close the facility, and we should be working towards that end.
“The minority and majority worked together in good faith to try to come to an agreement that would allow the minority to sign onto this report. There were attempts on both sides to reconcile the differences, but they fell short. This is a decent start, but we need to do more. A more detailed assessment of the report is attached in the dissenting views document.”