Walorski Demands Answers Regarding Guantanamo Detainees Transferred to State Sponsors of Terrorism

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Writes Second Letter in almost three months requesting information on security threats of Guantanamo Bay Detainees

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Jackie Walorski, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote to President Obama for the second time in almost three months, requesting additional information on the alarming number of Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility detainees who have been transferred to countries and are reportedly re-engaging in terrorist activities.

On December 15, Walorski wrote to the president requesting a classified briefing to obtain additional information regarding security assurances with countries where detainees are released. As of today, the president has failed to provide any response to her requests.

Last week, Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed, a former detainee who was transferred to Spain, was arrested for recruiting fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Two days later, Ibrahim al-Qosi, a former detainee that was transferred to Sudan, released a message on Thursday encouraging jihad in Somalia.

In the letter Walorski wrote, “Recidivism is clearly a very real issue, but seems to be underestimated by your administration… The recently-released Plan for Closing the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility states that the U.S. government obtains security assurances and humane treatment assurances from a country before transferring a detainee. Among the security assurances are restrictions on travel, monitoring of the detainee, and periodic information sharing. However, al-Qosi is currently operating out of Yemen. Obviously, there was a breakdown in these security assurances.”

The letter in its entirety is included below or can be read here.

March 1, 2016

Dear President Obama:

I am writing to follow up on a letter I sent on December 15, 2015 regarding your policy on the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and questions surrounding the problem of recidivism. I am extremely disappointed that, two-and-a-half months later, I have not received any response. I am also troubled by the lack of detail in your recent Plan for Closing the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility released last week, which provided no clarity on the issues raised in the letter either.

Last week alone, Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed, a former detainee that was transferred to Spain, was arrested on Tuesday, February 23 for recruiting fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Two days later, Ibrahim al-Qosi, a former detainee that was transferred to Sudan, released a message on Thursday encouraging jihad in Somalia. He had also urged his followers to carry out attacks on New Years Eve celebrations, particularly in New York City and Paris. Recidivism is clearly a very real issue, but seems to be underestimated by your administration.

In my December 15 letter, I had specifically raised the case of Ibrahim al-Qosi who is now a senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which took credit for the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015. He was also, curiously, transferred to a country that is designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the U.S. State Department.

The recently-released Plan for Closing the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility states that the U.S. government obtains security assurances and humane treatment assurances from a country before transferring a detainee. Among the security assurances are restrictions on travel, monitoring of the detainee, and periodic information sharing. However, al-Qosi is currently operating out of Yemen. Obviously, there was a breakdown in these security assurances.

Thus, I want to reiterate my request for a classified briefing that covers the questions raised in my December 15 letter, which I am enclosing. I would also like the briefing to address these additional questions:

1.Security assurances your administration received from the government of Sudan before the transfer of Ibrahim al-Qosi

2.The frequency and type of monitoring agreed to by the government of Sudan on Ibrahim al-Qosi and measures taken by the U.S. government to verify that this monitoring was taking place

3.The frequency and type of information shared by the government of Sudan on Ibrahim al-Qosi, his whereabouts, and his activities after his transfer

4.The date that the government of Sudan informed the U.S. government that Ibrahim al-Qosi was no longer in Sudan

5.Any punitive measures taken against the government of Sudan or members of the government in connection with its failure to live up to its commitments regarding the transfer of Ibrahim al-Qosi

6.Humane treatment assurances your administration received from the government of Sudan, whose head of state, Omar al-Bashir, has an arrest warrant pending with the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, before the transfer of Ibrahim al-Qosi

7.Questions 1, 2, 3, and 6 as they pertain to the two other detainees your administration transferred to Sudan: Noor Uthman Muhammed and Ibrahim Othman Ibrahim Idris

8.Questions 4 and 5 as they pertain to Noor Uthman Muhammed and Ibrahim Othman Ibrahim Idris if they are no longer in Sudan

9.Any extra security and humane treatment assurances your administration seeks from countries that are on the U.S. State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism

10.Any ongoing negotiations with the governments of Iran and Sudan regarding future transfer of Guantánamo detainees

Transferring Guantánamo detainees – known terrorists – to countries that are State Sponsors of Terrorism is an incredibly dangerous and misguided policy. No reasonable person should trust these governments to follow through on any promises they make to ensure detainees do not rejoin the battle. I strongly urge you not to complete any future transfers to these countries and I look forward to your timely response to my request for a briefing.

Sincerely,

JACKIE WALORSKI

Member of Congress

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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