WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today made the following statement regarding the release of Ali Musa Daqduq, a high ranking Hezbollah operative:
“The release of Daqduq is outrageous. President Obama’s obsession with closing our facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO) has resulted in not one single new detainee being sent there since he took office. Had Daqduq been sent there, he would not be free to return to the fight. His release is also another consequence of the Obama administration’s failure to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq. Many of us in Congress warned that this day would come, and this release highlights the need to send terrorists like Daqduq to GITMO so that they do not have the opportunity to shed more American blood.”
Ali Musa Daqduq was the highest ranking Hezbollah operative in US custody. In 2005, Daqduq was directed by senior Hezbollah leadership to go to Iran and train Iraqi extremists. Daqduq trained these Iraqis on the use of explosively formed penetrators, mortars, rockets, and other terrorist tactics that killed and injured many of our military members. He is also suspected of orchestrating a kidnapping in Karbala, Iraq, in 2007 that resulted in the murder of five U.S. military personnel.
Since Daqduq was born in Lebanon, the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) negotiated by the Bush Administration would have allowed Daqduq to be transfer to GITMO where he could have been tried in front of a military commission. Instead, the Obama Administration transferred Daqduq to Iraqi custody before the United States withdrew from Iraq in December 2011.
Inhofe, along with 19 other Senators, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in July 2011, voicing their opposition to Daqduq’s transfer to Iraqi custody. Earlier this year, Panetta said he had received assurances from Iraq that Daqduq would not be released, even though an Iraqi court had cleared him of the charges. Today, Daqduq was freed by Iraqi authorities and flew to Lebanon. Because of Obama’s continued refusal to place high-value enemy combatants in GITMO, Inhofe introduced S. 1046, the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility Act of 2011.