GOP Attacks Plan to Release Seven Detainees

Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:34pm

House and Senate Republicans denounced an Obama administration proposal to release a handful of Chinese detainees currently held at Guantánamo Bay into the United States, charging that allowing them into the country could increase the chance of a domestic terrorist attack.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday said the administration must provide Congress with a legal rationale for releasing a group of seven Uighur detainees into the United States as well as a plan for ensuring they do not commit acts of terrorism.

“The question remains, as it does with all detainees held at Guantánamo: Does their release make America safer? Surely the administration will not release these terrorist-trained detainees onto the streets of a U.S. community before providing to Congress the legal rationale for doing so and a guarantee of safety for American citizens,— McConnell said, adding, “There’s a reason U.S. law prohibits the entry of anyone trained in a terrorist camp. Why that law would be ignored to bring terrorist-trained detainees into American cities has not been answered by this administration.—

Likewise, House Judiciary Committee ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) argued any plan to release the suspected terrorists must first undergo Congressional review, and he charged that closing down Guantánamo Bay is little more than a political gesture that could put Americans in harm’s way.

“The Obama administration is putting the lives of Americans in danger for purely political reasons. Closing Gitmo was a campaign promise, but protecting Americans is the president’s job. We gain nothing by putting international image-building before American public safety,— Smith argued.

Republicans in recent weeks have stepped up their critique of President Barack Obama’s decision to shutter the controversial prison facility, arguing that because many of the detainees held there will not have any place to go, closing the prison would mean terrorists and suspected terrorists could end up in American prisons and communities.