Cruz Introduces Bill Barring Gitmo Transfers

Tristyn Bloom Contributor
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Senator Ted Cruz introduced legislation Friday blocking any further releases or transfers of Guantanamo detainees, saying that the Obama administration can’t be trusted until it explains the release of the ‘Taliban Five.’

“Americans need to know how the Obama Administration thinks it has made our nation safer by negotiating with terrorists to release these five dangerous terrorist leaders,” Senator Cruz said. “Until President Obama can make his case and convince the American public that this swap was in our national interest, prudence dictates that all further transfers and releases from Guantanamo Bay should be off the table.”

The terrorists were released in exchange for US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at the end of May, without Congressional approval and despite concerns repeatedly raised by military and intelligence officials. (RELATED: Prisoner Exchange Won’t Bring Peace Talks, Taliban Says)

“With 29 percent of former Guantanamo detainees returning or being suspected of returning, to terrorism, the administration should not release or transfer Guantanamo detainees who could potentially return to the battlefield,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte, who co-sponsored the bill. “Our common sense legislation would suspend the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to other countries until Congress can get more answers regarding the recent transfer of the Taliban Five.”

The State Department maintains that the talks leading up to the transfer didn’t constitute “negotiating with terrorists,” although as one senior DoD official pointed out, “[National Security Adviser Susan Rice] claimed that by negotiating through the government of Qatar, the United States didn’t negotiate with terrorists. The problem is that the government of Qatar wasn’t holding Sgt. Bergdahl captive — the Haqqani Network was. The Obama administration officially designated the Haqqani Network a terrorist group in 2012.” (RELATED: Hillary Deserts Obama On Taliban-Bergdahl Trade)

The bill “will prohibit any funds from being spent on transferring or releasing Guantanamo detainees until either 90 days after submitting a report to Congress that justifies the release of the Taliban 5, or 180 days after this bill is signed into law,” according to a press release from Senator Cruz’s office. The desired report must assess whether the terrorists will “reengage in terrorist activities after their transfer, return to Afghanistan, or increase the likelihood that the Taliban or other terrorist organizations will attempt to capture U.S. citizens in order to barter with the U.S.” (RELATED: Taliban Says Bergdahl Release Makes US Kidnappings More ‘Appealing’)

“For this President to release five of the worst al Qaeda affiliates at the same time that terrorists are taking charge in Iraq is a dangerous game I am not willing to play,” said Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, another co-sponsor. “I don’t know why the President does not feel the same desire to protect our national security.”

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