A senior Obama Administration official confirmed in congressional testimony what we at the ACLJ have been saying for years – efforts to close down the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO) endangers the lives of Americans.
Americans have been killed by prisoners released from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a senior Defense Department official told lawmakers Wednesday, triggering sharp criticism from Republicans opposed to shuttering the facility in the wake of deadly attacks by the Islamic State group in Brussels and Paris.
Paul Lewis, the Pentagon's special envoy for Guantanamo detention closure, declined to provide the GOP-led House Foreign Affairs Committee with details. . . .
"What I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of (Guantanamo) detainees," Lewis said during an exchange with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.
"When anybody dies, it is tragedy and we don't want anybody to die because we transfer detainees," Lewis said.
It is truly tragic. Prisoners released from Guantanamo every year continue to rejoin jihadist efforts to terrorize Americans and brutally murder innocent women and children around the world. In fact, top-ranking national security officials believe nearly 1 prisoner in every 3 released from GITMO is either known to or suspected to have rejoined terrorist organizations around the world.
This is unacceptable. Why does the Obama Administration continue to prioritize campaign promises instead of facing the cold hard fact that trying to close down GITMO makes the world a more dangerous place and costs American lives?
Their talking points remain the same – ISIS and other terrorist organizations use GITMO as a recruiting tool. But where is the evidence of this?
Congress has affirmatively acted to keep GITMO open AND to force the Obama Administration to actually prove that what they say is true.
In the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, Congress included numerous provisions that would make it illegal for President Obama to close GITMO and ensure that any transfers would be done securely and not endanger our national security. But they went a step further in Section 1041 of the law, requiring that within six months of passing the bill, “the Secretary of Defense shall, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, submit to Congress a report on the use by terrorist organizations and their leaders of images and symbols relating to United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and any other Department of Defense or Bureau of Prisons prison or other detention or disciplinary facility for recruitment and other propaganda purposes.”
The Obama Administration has just under two months to meet this deadline. Once and for all, Congress is requiring them to show them real facts about their talking points.
At the ACLJ, we’ll continue to fight on Capitol Hill to keep Americans safe and to keep our nation (and the world) secure and safe from terrorists. The world is getting more dangerous, and we need detention centers to hold enemy combatants, who are committing historic evil, now more than ever before.
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