Feb 12 2015

Armed Services Committee Passes Legislation to Restrict Transfer of Guantanamo Detainees

Contact: Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417 or Lorcan Connick (202) 224-5972

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted in support of legislation that would restrict transfers of detainees from Guantanamo Bay in order to best protect Americans and our national security.

The legislation passed through the Senate Armed Services Committee by a vote of 14-12.

"In light of the Taliban 5 and other provocative releases made by the Obama Administration, it's only appropriate that we call a time-out," said Graham. "The Obama Administration seems more concerned about fulfilling their campaign promise to close Gitmo than protecting our national security. Now is not the time to be sending radical Islamic terror groups reinforcements from Gitmo."

The bill, introduced by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) and cosponsored by Graham, suspends international transfers of high and medium risk detainees, prohibits the transfer of any Guantanamo detainee to Yemen, extends the current prohibition on transfers to the U.S., and increases transparency regarding the risk assessments of the remaining Guantanamo detainees.

The legislation:

Extends the Prohibition on Construction or Modification of Facilities in the United States. Extends the prohibition on construction or modification of facilities in the U.S. to house current Guantanamo detainees for two years.

Extends the Prohibition on Transfers to the United States. Extends the standard prohibition on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S for two years from enactment. The provision would permit the administration to place new detainees at Guantanamo for law of war detention and interrogation and then bring them to the United States.

Suspends International Transfers of High and Medium Risk Detainees. Prohibits international transfers of Guantanamo detainees who have ever been designated or assessed by Joint Task Force Guantanamo to be a high or medium risk to the U.S., our interests, or our allies for two years from enactment.

Prohibits Transfers to Yemen. Prohibits the transfer of any Guantanamo detainees to Yemen for two years from enactment.

Establishes a Higher Standard for International Transfers. Repeals the current international transfer provision (Section 1035 of FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)) the administration has used to transfer Guantanamo detainees and replaces it with the tough but reasonable standards from Section 1028 of the FY 2013 NDAA, which includes a national security waiver. If the administration can meet these commonsense requirements, over the next two years, the administration could transfer detainees internationally (but not to Yemen) who have never been designated or assessed as a high or medium risk to the U.S., our interests, or our allies.

Increases Transparency. Requires the Secretary of Defense to submit an unclassified report providing details on current Guantanamo detainees who have at any point been designated or assessed by Joint Task Force Guantanamo as a high or medium risk threat to the U.S., its interests, or its allies.

"There are more terrorist organizations with more safe havens, more resources, more members, and more capabilities to strike the American homeland now than there were before 9/11," said Graham. "For the United States to be releasing hardened jihadists from Gitmo, at this stage in the War on Terror, is dangerous and should be vigorously opposed."