The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee has formally asked President Barack Obama to release information about the five Taliban officials sent to Qatar in the prisoner swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia made the request for declassification in a letter dated Tuesday that circulated Wednesday morning.
"Although I understand that some of this material needs to remain redacted, much of this intelligence is over a decade old and does not present a threat to current U.S. sources and methods," Chambliss wrote.
The "Taliban Five" were transferred out of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for the release of Bergdahl, a trade that's generated bipartisan concern about congressional notification.
Dear Mr. President: I write to urge you to declassify additional intelligence related to the five Afghan nationals, Khairullah Khairkhwa (ISN 579), Nurullah Noori (ISN 006), Mullah Mohammad Fazl (ISN 007), Abdul Haq Wasiq (ISN 004), and Mohammad Nabi Omari (ISN 832), transferred from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) to Qatar. Since 2011, I have opposed this transfer because of the threat these detainees pose. While I have been able to see the intelligence, the American people have not. In order to fully evaluate the validity of this transfer and decide for themselves, the American people should be afforded the opportunity to see as much of this intelligence as possible. I formally request that you declassify, to the greatest extent possible, the 2009 Guantanamo Review Task Force assessments and any other relevant intelligence surrounding the five transferred GTMO detainees. Although I understand that some of this material needs to remain redacted, much of this intelligence is over a decade old and does not present a threat to current U.S. sources and methods. Secretary Clinton in a January 13, 2012, letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees stated: “I want also to make clear that any transfer from Guantanamo will be undertaken after consultation with Congress and pursuant to all legal requirements for transfers, including those spelled out in the FY2012 Defense Authorization Act.” This commitment was not honored. Additionally, Secretary Hagel recently cited an “acute and urgent danger to the life of Sergeant Bergdahl,” for failing to properly notify Congress. Despite several requests, I have not seen any evidence of a danger so urgent as to preclude the required notification. Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter. I look forward to your response.
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