GOP looks to tighten rules for Gitmo transfers

April 12, 2016

Via The Hill

Senate Republicans want to tighten restrictions on President Obama’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo Bay.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would require the secretary of Defense to certify that a detainee “no longer poses a continuing threat to the security of the United States, its citizens and its interests” before sending them to another country.

“It is critical to our national security that Congress has a role in the transfer authorization process,” Moran said. “The current process is entirely subjective and allows detainees to be transferred and released who may still pose a threat to our national security.”

Under the bill, as part of the certification, the secretary must consider — among other things — a detainee’s involvement in planning or carrying out terrorists attacks, the host country, the detainee’s support for terrorist groups or terrorists, and the likelihood that an individual will engage in another act of terrorism or reconnect with terrorists.

The certifications to Congress must take place within 30 days of the secretary deciding a detainee is no longer a threat.

Moran’s legislation is backed by Republican Sens. Steve Daines (Mont.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and James Inhofe (Okla.).

The proposal is the latest from Senate Republicans to try to crack down on Obama’s ability to transfer detainees since the administration handed over a plan to close the facility earlier this year.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) introduced legislation that would block transfers out of Guantanamo Bay through September 2017 and prohibit permanently closing the facility.

Republicans argue that by pushing to close Guantanamo Bay, Obama is putting a campaign pledge above national security.

Rubio added Tuesday that the continued release or transfer of detainees is “reckless.”

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has also introduced legislation to block the administration from transferring detainees to unstable countries or state sponsors of terrorism.

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