Two Republican senators filed legislation Thursday demanding the full declassification of the terrorist activities by detainees released from the detention center at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“We are in the midst of a war on terror, but to make good on a political promise, President [Barack] Obama has spent the last year trying to empty out our nation’s detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,” said Sen. David Perdue (R.-Ga.), who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“The president has suggested that ‘only a handful’ of Guantanamo detainees will return to a life of terrorism, when we know about 30 percent of released detainees are either known or suspected to have reengaged in terrorist activity,” he said.
Senator Thomas Cotton (R.-Ark.) said he was frustrated by the Obama administration’s disregard for the dangers its release of hardened terrorists policies create for America and Americans.
“The numbers don’t lie: almost one in three detainees released from Guantanamo Bay are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight,” said the Army veteran of combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Most recently, we’ve seen reports of former detainees joining forces with the Islamic State. Regrettably, many of these transfers are hashed out behind closed doors–this is unacceptable,” Cotton said.
The senators were motivated by recent intelligence that confirmed the suspicion by Capitol Hill conservatives that not only are the released detainees returning to the battlefield—but, Obama and his national security team are fully aware of it.
According to the study, 196 of the 653 former detainees were “confirmed or suspected” of returning to the fight, and recent estimates show that 122 of these detainees are not in any sort of restrictive custody.
One of the most illustrative cases involved Ibrahim al-Rubaysh. In 2006, the President George W. Bush administration released al-Rubaysh to the custody of Saudi Arabia.
Eight years after his release and five years after he returned to the fight, the Obama administration offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture after he became one of the leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and participated in AQAP terrorist attacks in Yemen. In 2015, al-Rubaysh was reported killed by a drone strike.
Today, the Gitmo detention center holds less than 90 detainees, including high-level terrorists, whom Pentagon officials have determined to be too dangerous to transfer to other countries.
Perdue said he and Cotton want a halt on releases until the feds release the documents and narratives associated with the detainees Obama released to spread mayhem around the world.
“Before releasing another detainee from Guantanamo, the American people need to know about the past behavior of those who have already been released or transferred,” he said. “That’s why Senator Cotton and I have requested a full review and declassification of intelligence reports to be made available to the public immediately.”
The two men filed their demand as an amendment to the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act with specific instructions to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper to complete a declassification review of intelligence reports on previous terrorist activities of former Guantanamo Bay detainees and make it public information.
Cotton said, “The American people and the nations accepting these hardened terrorists have a right to know what’s at risk when these individuals are released, and Senator Perdue and I are committed to ensuring this by requiring a complete declassification review of the intelligence on their past terrorist activities.”
The House passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, and Senate consideration of the Pentagon’s budget is expected to continue up until the July 4 recess.