Statement on NDAA, Gitmo transfers
DENVER—Today, the Senate will vote on proceeding to the annual defense policy bill. An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA) seeks to remove language giving the Pentagon flexibility in transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to locations on American soil.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., backs the amendment, and called on his colleagues to support the bill and stand with “Americans across the country who are opposed to moving terrorists to our backyards.” Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., a sponsor of the amendment added “any country that accepts Gitmo and loses control of these terrorists should face severe consequences.”
Advancing Colorado Chief Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:
“Sen. Michael Bennet should join his colleagues in stripping the NDAA of language that allows the Obama administration to casually transfer Gitmo terrorists whether to Colorado or to terror hotbeds. The amendment is common-sense and it shouldn’t be a partisan issue, Coloradans have no desire to have Obama drop off a load of ISIS agents into the Rocky Mountains.”
Department of Defense (DOD) 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.
A group of over 40 elected Colorado county sheriffs sent a letter to Bennet, President Obama and other members of Colorado’s congressional delegation opposing the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Colorado.
Recently, a CNN/ORC survey indicated a majority of Americans oppose closing Gitmo. 56 percent think the detention center should continue operating, whereas 40 percent believe the center should be closed. The survey also indicated that most Americans are not concerned with Cuba being the site of the center despite its history with the U.S. Only 7 percent consider the island a “very serious threat.”
Bennet has switched his position back and forth following the political and constituent backlash toward the Obama administration’s terrorist relocation plan. Concern is growing across Colorado and the Colorado Springs Gazette’s editorial board penned a piece slamming the transfer as well.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Bennet voted against an amendment in November 2013 that would have “prohibited moving any detainee to the United States for one year.” Bennet also voted against similar amendments in 2012 and 2009, which would have blocked funding toward transferring prisoners at Gitmo. In May 2009, Bennet “voiced support for withholding funding used to transfer detainees to a Supermax prison in Colorado,” but voted “to table an amendment that November that would have done so.”
Despite the fact Bennet has also failed to present a plan, or even advocate for a plan, Bennet said in 2009, “President Obama and his administration owe the American people a much more detailed plan of what they are going to do with the detainees.”