Press Releases

Congressman Jim Bridenstine on the Transfer of Guantanamo Detainees

Washington, DC, June 2, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Washington D.C., June 3, 2014 | comments

As a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, I am glad that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is going to be reunited with his family. 

This does not excuse the Obama Administration's blatant disregard for the law and the dangerous precedent of negotiating with terrorists.

The law is very explicit on transfers or releases of any Guantanamo detainees.  The Secretary of Defense is required to make certain specific determinations regarding the national security implications of any intended transfer/release and to notify Congress 30 days in advance of any transfer/release.  Congress was officially notified more than 72 hours after these detainees were transferred.  The law is not "an advisory" for the President.  The President is not above the law.

Beyond breaking the law, the President set a very dangerous precedent by negotiating with terrorists.  He has incentivized them to take more hostages.  The Administration stated that it moved quickly because Sgt. Bergdahl appeared to be in poor health.  That compounds the incentive for terrorists to not only take American hostages but also to treat them poorly in order to gain leverage.

It is dangerous to release top Taliban leaders from Guantanamo.  They are held for a reason, and when they are released we know that many return to the battlefield.  The Director of National IntelligenceÍs latest assessment concluded that nearly 30% of former Guantanamo detainees were confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorism after release (178 of 614 former detainees).  News reports indicate the detainees transferred are five of the most "valuable" Taliban leaders, so a mere one year travel ban is not very reassuring.

This dangerous move by the Obama Administration cannot be viewed as simply returning an American soldier to his family.  The failed Obama foreign policy put us in the position of making this deal.  America is not in any way safer because of this action.


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