Politics

GOP Lawmaker Asks Obama to Stop Gitmo Detainee Transfers

A Republican lawmaker is renewing his calls for the Obama administration to stop the release of six prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to Yemen and another four to Afghanistan in light of a report revising upwardly the number of former detainees who have returned to terrorism.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., sent his request to President Obama on Friday, the same day news broke that the U.S. had launched two missile strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Yemen. Those attacks Thursday signaled an escalation of the Obama administration's fight against the terrorist organization.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Obama administration is set to repatriate six Yemenis, a move that could lead to the release of dozens more to the country and help achieve the president's goal of closing the facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, next year.

The 97 Yemenis remaining at the facility make up the largest group there. But releasing more detainees to Yemen are raising concerns, because of the country's security problems and lack of resources.

"I have written you and others in your administration on three occasions imploring you to halt the release of detainees to these countries due to the deteriorating security situations and the dangerous potential for recidivism," Wolf wrote in his letter.

"I am deeply concerned that American lives will be at risk because of this terrible decision," he said.

Wolf noted that the Defense Intelligence Agency may have upwardly revised its recidivism numbers on former Gitmo detainees that have returned to terrorism -- information that has not been provided to most members of Congress.

In July, the agency reported that 18 percent of more than 530 detainees sent home or to another country are confirmed or suspected of what the Pentagon calls "terrorist activities."

"I hope your administration will not suppress this information," Wolf wrote. "The American people have a right to know the facts about the danger posed by released detainees."