Jan 07 2010

Graham, McCain Express Concerns over Detainee Policy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John McCain (R-Arizona) today wrote to President Obama expressing their concern over several areas of Administration policy regarding detainees. 


Major points of their letter include:

  • Encouraging the Obama Administration to immediately halt detainee transfers to countries with a significant al Qaeda presence, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Algeria and Sudan.  The Obama Administration has already halted the transfer of detainees to Yemen.
  • Pointing out the detainee release process appears to be marred by a lack of clearly defined criteria and insufficient coordination among the Departments of Justice, Defense, and State.  The Senators also noted “questionable assurances” from some foreign governments about their plans for the continued detention and monitoring of former Guantanamo detainees.
  • Pushing for the swift declassification of information on the number of Guantanamo detainees who have returned to the fight.  Recent media reports have said the recidivism rate is at least 20 percent.  The recidivism rate for detainees released to countries where Al Qaeda is active may be significantly higher. 
  • Expressing concern about the release of Guantanamo detainees based upon factors other than an objective analysis of the threat detainees pose to our national security.  Government anticipation of an adverse decision in a habeas corpus case should not be a factor in the decision to transfer a detainee.

A copy of the McCain-Graham letter to the President is attached