Carter Nomination Hearing Should Examine Administration’s Plans to Close Guantanamo

Washington, DC – Tomorrow the Senate Armed Services Committee will question Ashton Carter about his qualifications to be President Obama’s secretary of defense. Human Rights First urges the committee to use the opportunity to examine how Carter would advance U.S. national security policies that protect and promote American ideals. In particular, senators should question Carter on the administration’s plans to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay by the end of President Obama’s term in office.

“National security experts agree that closing Guantanamo should be a key priority for the Pentagon,” said Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar. “During tomorrow’s hearing, senators should probe Carter on whether he will work within his authority to achieve this goal by quickening the pace of transfer for those detainees who have been cleared by national security agencies.”

Today’s hearing comes one week after 40 retired generals and admirals urged Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) to press Carter about the administration’s plan to close Guantanamo.  Earlier this month, President Obama reiterated his commitment to close Guantanamo in his State of the Union address. If confirmed, Carter would be tasked with helping the president fulfill that pledge and will be the person charged with signing off on detainee transfers.

Of the remaining Guantanamo detainees, 54 have been cleared by U.S. intelligence and security agencies and should be transferred without delay. The vast majority of the other remaining detainees will face Periodic Review Board hearings — an interagency process currently underway that will assess whether the detainees pose a significant security threat to the United States or should be cleared for transfer.

Resources

Letter:  40 Retired Military Leaders Urge McCain, Reed to Address Guantanamo during Carter Confirmation Hearing
Press Release: Proposed Guantanamo Restriction Weakens National Security
Opinion: I Helped Create Gitmo. Now I Want It Shut Down (Politico, Gen. Michael Lehnert)
Blog: New Gitmo Bill Would Stop All Detainee Transfers Based on Outdated, Unreliable Assessments
Blueprint: How to Close Guantanamo
Fact Sheet: Cost of Guantanamo
Fact Sheet: Guantanamo Periodic Review Boards
Fact Sheet: Guantanamo Recidivism Concerns are Overblown
Fact Sheet: Key Facts on Military Commissions v. Federal Courts
Fact Sheet: Guantanamo by the Numbers
Quote Sheet: National Security Leaders Support Closing Guantanamo

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Published on February 3, 2015

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