GOP Senator: 'Americans Being Kept in the Dark About Freed Gitmo Detainees'
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) went "On the Record" Tuesday night, sounding the alarm about the Obama administration's behind-the-scenes plans to release or transfer more and more detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
A group of Republican senators have just introduced a bill to restrict the president's ability to release terror suspects from Gitmo.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire introduced the far-reaching legislation to “extend and enhance prohibitions and limitations” on transferring or releasing Guantanamo prisoners.
She cited the steady stream of detainees allegedly tied to Al Qaeda who have been transferred in recent months, even to Yemen, which she called the “wild West” for terrorists.
“It’s clear that we need a time out,” she said.
The measure would repeal current law that has allowed the administration to transfer prisoners to foreign countries and reduce the population at Guantanamo to 127. The bill also would prohibit transfers of terror suspects to foreign countries if there has been a confirmed case where an individual was transferred from Guantanamo and engaged in any terrorist activity. It would specifically bar transfers to Yemen for two years.
Further, the bill would prohibit the transfer of terror suspects considered to be high-risk or medium-risk – some of the recently transferred detainees fell into those categories.
The administration is currently conducting an assessment of all detainees at the facility, and is almost certain to oppose the Senate legislation.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said closing the facility is “in the clear national security interest” of the country.
“That continues to be the goal that this administration has,” Earnest said.
Barrasso agreed that in light of the terror attacks in Paris, this is not the time to be speeding up the releases of Gitmo detainees.
"The problem is that the president has actually been quickening the releases to the point where 15 were released in December alone, very little surveillance. Really there’s not the chance and the opportunity to make sure they don’t go back into the fight. We know we now have over 100 who have been confirmed back into the fight against us," said Barrasso.
He said Republicans have blocked Obama every step of the way, but he remains committed to closing Gitmo as he promised in his 2008 campaign.
Barrasso noted that a recent release of six detainees to South America was a "friction point" between Obama and then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who was concerned about the releases.
Greta questioned whether anyone is actually monitoring the detainees that are being released. Barrasso said the Obama administration has not been forthcoming in response to concerns like that.
"This has not been a transparent administration. They have really been very quiet about how they do this and the American people, I believe, have been kept in the dark but the risk is to the homeland. That’s the risk when we have this many people going back into the fight," he said.
Watch the full discussion above.