Congresswoman Jackie Walorski

Representing the 2nd District of Indiana
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Walorski Requests Briefing from Senior White House Official Regarding American Deaths from Guantanamo Detainees

Mar 24, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – After admitting yesterday that released detainees from Guantanamo Bay have in fact killed Americans, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today requested a classified briefing from Paul Lewis, the Pentagon’s special envoy for Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.

The letter read, “I write with significant concerns following your testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on March 23, 2016.  While I understand your mission as the Department of Defense’s Special Envoy for Guantanamo Bay follows the Executive Orders issued by the Obama administration, I am deeply troubled by an answer you gave at yesterday’s hearing.”

“…You indicated that Americans have, in fact, lost their lives at the hands of detainees who were released from the Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  However, despite this alarming claim, you defended the administration’s position that the risk posed by keeping Guantanamo Bay open is higher than if it were closed because of its role as a recruitment vehicle.  As recent events in Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, and elsewhere tragically highlight, these terrorist radicals will carry out unspeakable violence with or without the presence of Guantanamo Bay.”

According to the Associated Press, yesterday during testimony during a House committee Lewis said, "What I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of (Guantanamo) detainees."

Walorski requested Lewis provide a classified briefing to answer the following:

  • The number of Americans killed by detainees formerly held at Guantanamo Bay;
  • The number of former Guantanamo detainees who are confirmed or suspected of killing Americans;
  • The circumstances detailing how this/these death(s) occurred;  
  • The locations where this/these death(s) occurred;
  • The details outlining how the United States became aware of this/these casualty/casualties;
  • The countries that this/these former Guantanamo detainee(s) were transferred to;
  • The terms that were reached with this/these country/countries prior to the transfer;
  • The number of other detainees transferred to that/those country/countries; and
  • What actions (if any) that the United States government has taken since becoming aware of this/these American casualty/casualties either against the country/countries of transfer or against the former detainee(s) themselves.

Click here to read Walorski’s reaction to yesterday to Lewis’s comments. The letter in its entirety is below and here.

 

March 24, 2016

 

Mr. Paul M. Lewis

Special Envoy for Guantanamo Detention Closure

U.S. Department of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

I write with significant concerns following your testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on March 23, 2016.  While I understand your mission as the Department of Defense’s Special Envoy for Guantanamo Bay follows the Executive Orders issued by the Obama administration, I am deeply troubled by an answer you gave at yesterday’s hearing.     

According the Director of National Intelligence’s January 2016 report entitled “Summary of the Reengagement of Detainees Formerly Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba”, thirty – 30 – percent of former detainees are confirmed or suspected of reengaging.  This statistic is troubling in and of itself, yet the statements yesterday highlight the true danger posed by the release of these detainees. 

During a period of question and answer with Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, you indicated that Americans have, in fact, lost their lives at the hands of detainees who were released from the Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  However, despite this alarming claim, you defended the administration’s position that the risk posed by keeping Guantanamo Bay open is higher than if it were closed because of its role as a recruitment vehicle.  As recent events in Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, and elsewhere tragically highlight, these terrorist radicals will carry out unspeakable violence with or without the presence of Guantanamo Bay.  

Furthermore, since you refused to provide any details in an unclassified setting, in accordance with my oversight role as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I write requesting a classified briefing on the following questions as soon as possible. 

  1. The number of Americans killed by detainees formerly held at Guantanamo Bay;
  2. The number of former Guantanamo detainees who are confirmed or suspected of killing Americans;
  3. The circumstances detailing how this/these death(s) occurred;  
  4. The locations where this/these death(s) occurred;
  5. The details outlining how the United States became aware of this/these casualty/casualties;
  6. The countries that this/these former Guantanamo detainee(s) were transferred to;
  7. The terms that were reached with this/these country/countries prior to the transfer;
  8. The number of other detainees transferred to that/those country/countries; and
  9. What actions (if any) that the United States government has taken since becoming aware of this/these American casualty/casualties either against the country/countries of transfer or against the former detainee(s) themselves.

As we witness innocent lives lost in tragic events around the world, now is the time to exercise more caution, not less. As someone who always prioritizes the safety and security of the American people above all else, we must do everything in our power to prevent violent radicals from being able to strike again. 

I look forward to your prompt response to this letter.    

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

 

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