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Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Rep. Walorski introduces bill to provide Congressional oversight of Gitmo detainee transfers

A bill that seeks to enhance Congressional oversight of future Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detainee transfers by closing a loophole that allowed the executive branch to keep secret the terms under which terrorist detainees were released was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN).

The Guantanamo Recidivism Reduction Act contains provisions that requires the State Department to keep written records of any bilateral agreement reached between the United States and nations that accept Gitmo detainees.

The bill additionally requires the State Department to provide those records to Congress within 90 days and to update congressional committees on an annual basis as to the whereabouts of released detainees who may have reengaged in terrorist activities.

“In a misguided and unsuccessful attempt to close Gitmo, the Obama Administration rapidly accelerated the release of terrorist detainees without proper safeguards or oversight,” Walorski said when introducing the bill. “In the final 13 months of the Obama presidency, 66 detainees were transferred to foreign nations under terms that remain unknown even to Congress because the administration did not put them into writing.”

Walorski’s bill comes in the wake of a recent report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which stated that 21 of the 182 detainees released during the Obama presidency are known to or suspected to have returned to the battlefield for extremist groups.

Approximately 30 percent of Gitmo detainees that have been released since the facility opened in 2002 are either confirmed or suspected to have returned to extremist activities.

During the 114th Congress, the House passed a Walorski-authored bill which sought to block any detainee transfer until new safeguards were implemented. The Senate did not take action on that particular bill.