Washington, DC – Following a briefing by a senior administration official, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released a statement on President Obama’s Executive Orders to close the detention facilities at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within one year, to end the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, and to reassess detainee policy:

 “I commend President Obama for taking the first steps toward closing the detention facilities at Guantanamo and for working to ensure that the interrogation techniques that can be used by the intelligence community are consistent with those that can be used by our military.  These necessary actions will hasten efforts to restore our country’s reputation and moral standing around the world. 

 “The House Armed Services Committee stands ready to work with Secretary Gates and the rest of the Obama Administration as we consider the complex issues that are central to detainee policy, including: how to prosecute known terrorists with the full force of law so that convictions stick; what to do with other hard-core detainees so that they do not return to the battlefield; and where to place detainees in the short-term and the long-term.

 “These perplexing questions confounded the previous administration and will also test the new administration, but our duty calls us to set policies which keep America safe and conform to American values.  We accept this challenge and will faithfully carry out our Congressional oversight responsibilities.”