Wrong Time for Administration to Release Terrorists from Gitmo

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding terrorists released from the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:

“Earlier this year I noted that the next Commander in Chief will assume office confronting a complex and varied array of threats. I observed that, after seven years of the Obama Administration delaying action in the War on Terror, the next administration would need to return to the fight and restore our role in the world.

“Among many other things, that means we must return to capturing, interrogating, and targeting the enemy in a way that allows us to defeat terrorist networks. Because, let’s remember, in his first week in office, the President issued a series of Executive orders that collectively undermined the capability of our intelligence community and military to combat terrorism.

“Yesterday the Defense Department confirmed that two of Al Qaeda’s former explosives experts were transferred from the secure detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to Senegal. Both detainees had long records of supporting Al Qaeda.

“According to records that have been made public, one of those detainees — a former associate of Osama Bin Laden — is likely to reengage in hostilities. The other detainee was previously assessed as likely to return to the fight.

“This comes at a time when Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited the war within Yemen to secure a safe haven, and the Nusra Front within Syria is exploiting the civil war there to carry on Al Qaeda’s mission.

“This is precisely the wrong time to send experienced, hardened fighters back in to the conflict.

“We must use the remaining months of the Obama Administration as a year of transition to better posture our military to meet the threats we will face — not make it more challenging for the next President, regardless of political party.

“And, actually, there have been some encouraging changes within the Administration recently: like programs presented in the budget request by the Secretary of Defense to address Chinese and Russian aggression, a public recognition by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the threat posed by ISIL in Libya, more focus on the need to rebuild the nuclear triad, General Campbell's statement that a larger force must be left in Afghanistan, and the deployment of the expeditionary targeting force to Iraq.

“This is the wrong time for the Administration to release terrorists who are likely to return to the fight.”

Related Issues: Guantanamo Detention Facility, National Security, War on Terror