WASHINGTON D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), member of the House Armed Services Committee, along with six of her House colleagues, sent a letter to President Obama today requesting the declassification of intelligence related to the five Afghan nationals transferred from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Qatar last month.
“I’m extremely concerned that releasing these individuals presents a grave threat to our national security. I urge the president to justify his reasoning for releasing these men by declassifying information so that the American people can learn what these men were being held for in Guantanamo and what they were accused of,” Walorski said. “It’s also important to determine if their transfer undermined Congressional authority when the president failed to notify us of this prisoner swap.”
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Mr. President:
We write to urge you to declassify as much intelligence as possible related to the five Afghan nationals transferred from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) to Qatar on May 31, 2014: Khairullah Khairkhwa, Nurullah Noori, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Abdul Haq Wasiq, and Mohammad Nabi Omari. We oppose this transfer because of the threat these detainees pose and believe the American people need more information to be able to evaluate fully the risk involved in their release.
We formally request you declassify, to the greatest extent possible, the 2009 Guantanamo Review Task Force assessments and any other relevant intelligence surrounding the five transferred GTMO detainees. Although we certainly understand that some of this material needs to remain redacted, much of this intelligence is over a decade old and does not present a threat to current U.S. sources and methods.
The law is clear that any transfer from Guantanamo must be undertaken only after consultation with Congress. We are concerned that this legal requirement was not met in this transfer. Though Secretary Hagel cited an “acute and urgent danger to the life of Sergeant Bergdahl” as justification for failing to notify Congress, we have not yet seen any evidence of a danger so urgent as to preclude the required notification.
No American should be left behind. However, larger national security issues cannot be overlooked or ignored.
Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter, and we look forward to your response.