Top Generals Urge Congress to Oppose Further Restrictions on Transfer of Guantanamo Detainees

Washington, D.C. – As the House of Representatives and Senate prepare to consider amendments to appropriations measures that would add more stringent restrictions or ban entirely the transfer of detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, General Joseph P. Hoar, USMC (ret.) and General Charles C. Krulak, USMC (ret.) strongly reaffirmed their support for closing the detention facility, and their opposition to additional restrictions on transfers:

“Proposals to add additional restrictions or bans on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo are unwise and unnecessary.  We recognize and appreciate that there is some risk in transferring individuals from Guantanamo.  However, over half of the detainees held at Guantanamo have been unanimously cleared for transfer by the Department of Defense, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, and Department of Justice.  In addition, current law—as agreed to by Congress on a bipartisan basis last year—only allows transfers with a determination by the Secretary of Defense that such transfers are in the national security interest of the United States, and that any risks will be mitigated.  Guantanamo continues to serve as a recruiting tool for terrorists and undermine American values.  We strongly oppose any proposals to add additional restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo,” said Generals Hoar and Krulak.

This week, the House of Representatives is considering an amendment to the DOD Appropriations bill that would place the most stringent restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo yet. The amendment, proposed by Representative Tom Cotton (AR-4), would ban the use of any funds to transfer any detainee out of Guantanamo to their home or third country, irrespective of whether the detainee has been cleared for transfer by the courts or our defense, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies.  In addition, Representative Jackie Walorski (IN-4) has proposed an amendment that would categorically ban transfers of detainees to Yemen.  Thirty-seven of the nation’s most respected retired generals and admirals wrote a letter to Congress opposing such a ban, arguing that the Department of Defense “must have the flexibility to make transfer decisions on a case-by-case basis where the risk of transfer can be mitigated and where transfer would be in our broader national interest.”  Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH) has also proposed an amendment that would make it difficult or impossible to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo, including in cases where such detainees have been unanimously cleared for transfer by our security and intelligence agencies.

Human Rights First continues to urge President Obama and Congress to work together to close the facility at Guantanamo Bay and bring an end to what has become a symbol for an America that flouts the law. Last week, Human Rights First issued a comprehensive blueprint detailing steps the Obama Administration and Congress can take to finally shutter the facility.

General Hoar served as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Central Command; General Krulak was the 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps


Published on June 19, 2014


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