WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and a staunch opponent of President Obama’s efforts to close Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO), today reflected on his visit to GITMO last Friday, introducing new legislation dealing with the facilities. U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) travelled to GITMO on the Congressional Delegation trip, and is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.
“Having been to GITMO on several occasions, it was important for me to return to get an update on the operations and see firsthand the current conditions of the detention facilities and the detainees,” said Inhofe. “The other six members had never been before, so it was important for them to see this first hand. Incidentally, regardless of party, everyone came away with a greater appreciation for the work that is being done there.”
Inhofe continued, “GITMO is the single greatest repository of human intelligence in the war on terror. This intelligence has prevented terrorist attacks, saved lives, and helped lead us to Bin Laden. Because President Obama is so committed to closing the facility, not one new detainee has been brought there in the time he has been in office. That is why I introduced new legislation today that compels the administration to bring new detainees to GITMO.
“GITMO meets the highest international standards. It is a state of the art facility that provides humane treatment for all detainees, is fully compliant with the Geneva Convention, and provides treatment and oversight that exceed any maximum-security prison in the world – as attested to by human rights organizations, the Red Cross, Attorney General Holder, and an independent commission led Admiral Walsh. There is no other place like it, and no other place can offer what GITMO offers in terms of security, treatment, and legal prosecution. It is an asset that this administration is not taking full advantage of, and that is the reason for this new legislation.”
Boozman said, “Detainee facilities at Guantanamo Bay play a critical role in ridding the world of terrorism. The detainees held here are some of the most vile terrorists, who are committed to killing Americans, and releasing these men into society cannot be an option. The administration’s actions to close this facility threaten the safety of our nation and its citizens and we must keep this facility open as we continue fighting terrorism. We appreciate the efforts of our troops all around the world who are on this mission and to those serving at Guantanamo Bay guarding these dangerous terrorists.”
Ø The measure, S. 1046, requires that each high-value enemy combatant who is captured or otherwise taken into long-term custody by the United States be detained at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (GTMO) at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Ø The definition of a high-value enemy includes an enemy combatant who: is a senior member of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or any associated terrorist group; has knowledge of an imminent terrorist threat against the United States or its territories, the Armed Forces of the United States, the people or organizations of the United States, or an ally of the United States; has, or has had, direct involvement in planning or preparing a terrorist action against the United States or an ally of the United States or in assisting the leadership of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or any associated terrorist group in planning or preparing such a terrorist action; or, if released from detention, would constitute a clear and continuing threat to the United States or any ally of the United States.
Ø Inhofe lead the Congressional Delegation visit to GITMO on May 20, 2011 that consisted of Boozman, Rep Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), Rep Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Rep David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Rep David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Rep Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.).
Ø Met with Rear Admiral Harbeson (Commander, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo), Brigadier General Samuel Nichols (Deputy Commander, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo), COL Donnie Thomas (Commander, Joint Detention Group, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo), their staff, and the professional men and women who selflessly serve on the GITMO front lines.
Ø During the visit, the members toured the Joint Task Force Headquarters, detention camps, detention hospital, and Expeditionary Legal Complex.
Ø The United States has detained almost 800 Al-Qaeda and Taliban combatants at GITMO.
Ø Over 600 detainees have been tried, transferred or released from GITMO for other countries.
Ø In November 2010, the Director of National Intelligence released a report that stated over 150 transferred or released GITMO detainees, or 25 percent of those released, are suspected or confirmed to have returned to fight. The recidivism rate in 2009 was 14 percent.