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Cruz Bill Would Force Admin to Release Terror Histories of Gitmo Releases

Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba / AP
• January 17, 2017 4:33 pm

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would mandate the declassification and public release of information on previous terrorist activities of former Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred since the presidential election.

The Defense Department has announced the transfer of several Guantanamo prisoners to foreign countries in recent months, as Republicans in Congress have expressed concerns about former prisoners resuming terrorist activities and the ability of foreign governments to keep track of ex-detainees.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that 10 detainees were transferred to the government of Oman this week, whittling the prison population down to below 50. The Pentagon has not officially confirmed the transfer.

Cruz's bill directs the secretary of defense to declassify and release records on past terrorist activities of detainees released from the military prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, since Nov. 8. The secretary of defense post is currently held by Ash Carter, but retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead the Pentagon, is expected to be easily confirmed for the top position as early as Friday.

"Even though the American people rightly rejected President Obama's dangerous plan to completely empty the Guantanamo detention facility, he is still irresponsibly working to release as many terrorists as possible before he leaves office," Cruz said in a statement on Tuesday. "President Obama's push to empty GTMO is reckless, and the American people should be made aware of the past terrorist activities committed by the individuals detained there."

Republicans who oppose President Obama's effort to close Guantanamo point to data from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence showing that roughly 30 percent of detainees transferred from the prison are confirmed to have reengaged in terrorist activities or are suspected of doing so.

While Obama has accelerated his efforts to close Guantanamo over the past year, he has been unable to execute a plan that would involve moving prisoners not cleared for release to U.S. prisons. Congress has used annual defense legislation to extend prohibitions on moving Guantanamo prisoners to stateside facilities.

Published under: Guantanamo, Ted Cruz