Statement on Gardner, Kirk legislation to block GITMO detainees from being transferred to Iran, Syria and Sudan
DENVER—Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., joined Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., in introducing legislation to prohibit transferring or releasing GITMO terrorists to state sponsors of terrorism, including Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Current U.S. law already prohibits transfers to Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Syria, but not to Iran and Sudan.
Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:
“We should not be releasing terrorists to terror hotbeds so that they can go back to their jobs of being HR officers for terrorist groups. They are recruiting more terrorists, and rejoining the fight against American interests. Sen. Michael Bennet is of course not sponsoring the legislation and continues to get it wrong on issues of national security and global order. Obama and his allies are hellbent on shutting down GITMO, but have no plan of action other than dropping them off in our backyards, or sending them back to the battlefield.”
Department of Defense officials testified that 30 percent of released terrorists are known or suspected to have rejoined the fight against Americans. This includes detainees like Ibrahim al Qosi, who was transferred to Sudan in 2012. He is now a top terrorist headhunter who is often featured prominently in propaganda videos produced by al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.
Last month, the Obama administration released at least 17 detainees from GITMO and in 2015, quietly announced the release or transfer of 20 detainees, leaving fewer than 100 prisoners now at the facility. Already, 14 detainees have been transferred over the past decade to terror hotbeds.
“The President’s rush to fulfill a campaign promise by the end of his term means an accelerated release of Guantanamo Bay detainees,” said Gardner. “The Administration’s release of these prisoners to state sponsors of terrorism threatens our national security at a time when we lack a real strategy to defeat ISIS and know that many prisoners who have already been released have re-joined the fight against the West,” said Gardner. “The threat of Guantanamo Bay detainees returning to the battlefield is one of the many reasons I oppose the closure of the facility, and this legislation explicitly prohibits the transfer or release of prisoners to all countries we know support terrorist activities. It’s commonsense, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting it.”
“When asked why terrorists like al Qosi were allowed to reengage in terror against America after being transferred to Sudan, a state-sponsor of terror, Secretary of State John Kerry’s only answer was that ‘he’s not supposed to be doing that.’ Allowing the transfer of these dangerous criminals to terror hotspots only makes it easier for them to re-join in the fight against America,” Kirk said. “As the administration moves forward with plans to close the Guantanamo Bay facility, we have to stop those who seek to engage in terrorism from ever getting the chance.”