Walorski Introduces Bill to Boost Oversight of Future Gitmo Transfers
Guantanamo Recidivism Reduction Act Would Close Loophole that Allowed Obama Administration to Keep Detainee Release Agreements Secret
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) this week introduced legislation to boost oversight of future Guantanamo Bay detainee transfers by closing a loophole that allowed the Obama administration to keep secret the terms under which terrorist detainees were released.
“In a misguided and unsuccessful attempt to close Gitmo, the Obama administration rapidly accelerated the release of terrorist detainees without proper safeguards or oversight,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “In the final 13 months of the Obama presidency, 66 detainees were transferred to foreign nations under terms that remain unknown even to Congress because the administration did not put them into writing. The Trump administration has ended the reckless release of Gitmo detainees, but we must close this loophole so there is never again any doubt that appropriate steps are being taken to prevent released detainees from returning to terrorism.”
The Guantanamo Recidivism Reduction Act (H.R. 2993) would require the State Department to keep written records of the bilateral agreements reached between the U.S. and nations that accept released Gitmo detainees. It would also require the State Department to provide these records to Congress within 90 days and to update the relevant congressional committees annually on the whereabouts and activities of released detainees who have reengaged in terrorism.
According to a report issued in March 2017 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 21 of the 182 detainees released during the Obama are known or suspected to have reengaged in terrorism. Nearly 30 percent of Gitmo detainees released since the facility opened in 2002 are confirmed or suspected to have returned to terrorist activity.
From January 2016 through the end of President Obama’s term in office, 66 Gitmo detainees were transferred, including 20 to Oman, 18 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and 15 to Saudi Arabia. Forty-one detainees remain in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
In September 2016, the House passed a bill Walorski authored to block detainee transfers until new safeguards were implemented. The Senate did not take action on the bill.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.