WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — President Obama’s push to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility may be forcing the Department of Defense to release suspected terrorists newly captured by U.S. forces overseas, according to a Republican lawmaker and former Marine.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) recently penned a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter expressing concern that Obama’s refusal to send new terrorist suspects to Guantanamo Bay is allowing them to return to the battlefield to fight U.S. forces and resume acts of terrorism.
“Given the clear position of Congress on the proposed closure of Guantanamo Bay and the prohibition on detainee transfers to domestic facilities, I am concerned that the Department of Defense is being forced to relinquish control of dangerous individuals captured by U.S. forces due to the president’s refusal to utilize Guantanamo Bay for new detention cases,” Hunter wrote to Carter on January 28.
“And once in foreign custody, an individual’s release can occur despite the best efforts of the U.S. to keep that individual in custody,” Hunter continued. “An already high-rate of recidivism adds to the probability that some individuals will subsequently reengage U.S. forces on the battlefield or resume terrorist activity. This puts American lives at risk.”
Obama, who promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay when he took office, has blocked captured terrorist suspects from being sent to the military prison. This, coupled with the United States’ closure of the detention facility near the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, raises questions about the Pentagon’s ability to detain suspected terrorists captured under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, Hunter wrote.