WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, responded to remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder who said that detainees from Gitmo could be released into the United States. In February, Senator Inhofe introduced legislation (S.370) to prevent the detainees at Guantanamo from being relocated anywhere on American soil.
“Releasing detainees into the United States is the last thing we should be doing,” Senator Inhofe said. “What troubles me the most is that the Obama administration seems more focused on closing down Gitmo and protecting the rights of detainees than conducting the War on Terror, than protecting our country and its people from terrorists like those currently held at Gitmo. The detainees Attorney General Holder is thinking about releasing were either captured training with the Taliban or trying to kill Americans. This is no time to let our efforts lax. We must keep our eye on the ball and remain ever vigilant.
“Just last month, the Attorney General returned from Gitmo with a glowing report about conditions at the facility, and the Pentagon released a report stating that Gitmo meets the highest international standards. Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems bent on closing down Gitmo for political reasons, despite the facts on the ground and evidence to the contrary. “Early this year, I introduced legislation specifically against allowing detainees to be brought to American soil. It is more important than ever, in light of the Attorney General’s recent comments, that we take proactive action to prevent any such transfers. I believe it’s time that Members of Congress weigh-in and go on the record with where they stand on allowing terrorists onto American soil. Every single member of the U.S. Senate needs to let their constituents know where they stand on this critical national security issue. Americans deserve to know the truth about what could be coming to their communities in the not too distant future.
“The fact is that as the U.S. engages in the War on Terror, the capture of terrorists is inevitable and they must be held somewhere. In February 2009, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reported that of the 531 detainees released from GITMO, at least 12% have resumed their engagement in terrorist activity or had returned to the battlefield. The detainee complex at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is the only complex in the world that can safely and humanely hold individuals that pose a high security risk to the US. It is a secure location away from population centers, provides maximum security required to prevent escape, provides multiple levels of confinement opportunities based on compliance of the detainee, and provides medical care not available to a majority of the population of the world.
“We must guard against turning the War on Terror into some type of civilian legal action. Doing so only emboldens our enemy and increases the risk of another attack on our homeland. As the 9/11 Commission confirmed, the United States was not on a wartime footing with Al Qaeda even though al-Qaeda was at war with us. International terrorism took the forefront as al-Qaeda continued to train, plot, and test us. Afghanistan became a training ground for terrorists and the Taliban regime allowed al Qaeda unfettered mobility. This resulted in major attacks against the United States.”