Effort in Senate to Halt Gitmo Transfers for Six Months
June 9, 2014 - 5:37 pm
A bill will surface on the Senate floor this week to immediately suspend all transfers of detainees out of Guantanamo Bay for six months.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will introduce the legislation in response to the swap of five Taliban commanders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Bergdahl remains at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany as the five Taliban are under supervised release in Qatar for the next year.
The bill would “immediately call for a six-month freeze on any federal funding for transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay,” according to Cruz’s office. “To enforce this requirement, should the President choose to disregard this law, this legislation would require all funds expended for the transfer be deducted from the budget of the Executive Office of the President.”
“Because we understand that conditions may arise that necessitate the release of an individual prisoner, and out of respect for the President’s special role in international matters, this legislation also provides a means for the President to ask Congress for a waiver of the six-month bar in an individual case. It would require that every order for the release of a Guantanamo Bay detainee after the six-month freeze be signed by the President. This would ensure that the fullest consideration and deliberation goes into the process.”
Cruz said on the Senate floor today that “Americans need to know how the Obama administration thinks it has made our nation safer by negotiating with terrorists to release these five dangerous terrorist leaders.”
“Until President Obama can make his case and convince the American public that this swap was in our national interest, prudence dictates that all further transfers and releases from Guantanamo Bay should be off the table,” Cruz added.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told a Jacksonville radio station today that the focus of the Bergdahl case needs to be on “the fact that the President has gone ahead and released five extremely dangerous Taliban commanders.”
“I mean, perhaps the five most dangerous Taliban commanders in Guantanamo are now free, and are already planning to be at war against the Unites States fairly soon – as they have said upon arrival, when they arrived in Qatar,” Rubio said.
“All five are people that we fully anticipate would return to the battlefield. I mean, these guys aren’t going back home to become stockbrokers, or journalists. I mean, these are hardened Taliban fighters, and this return has been hailed as a victory for the Taliban – has really given them credibility in the region and on the ground as a legitimate government, legitimate military force,” he added. “And it sets a very dangerous precedent for the future.”