Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has pushed forward legislation that requires President Obama release to the public information on the future whereabouts of enemy combatants currently held at the Guantánamo Bay detention center.
Sen. Johnson introduced the Terrorist Release Transparency Act on Thursday. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also submitted a companion bill in the House.
In a statement, the Wisconsin Senator demanded the White House unclassify details pertaining to the transfer plans for the jihadis held at Guantánamo.
“The American people deserve to know when and where President Obama plans to transfer detainees currently held at Guantánamo Bay. The information should be public, not hidden by unnecessary classification,” Sen. Johnson said in a statement on his website. “Many of the former Guantánamo detainees transferred to foreign countries have gone on to re-engage in terrorism, or are believed to have done so. The threat posed by the terrorists held at the Guantanamo facility must be addressed seriously and transparently.”
As the bill notes, the Guantánamo Bay detention facility continues to hold Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and several of his fellow Al Qaeda jihadis.
The legislation argues that the “decision to classify” these details on coming transfers prevents “the American public from knowing pertinent information about the release of these individuals.”
If passed, the bill requires that the Secretary of State “submit to Congress an unclassified notice before the transfer of any individual detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the custody or control of the individual’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity, and for other purposes.”
There are now less than 90 detainees remaining at the facility, which once held over 500 enemy combatants.
Some of those released have returned to the battlefield to wage jihad against the United States.
Ibrahim Al Qosi, a former detainee at Guantánamo, has become a chief spokesman for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has been described by the intelligence community as the most dangerous branch of Al Qaeda.
This week, a former Guantanamo detainee was arrested by Spanish counterterror units on suspicion that he was a member of the Islamic State, and actively recruiting for the terror group.