Ayotte calls for release of unclassified report on Guantanamo Bay detainees

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) called on Monday for the release of an unclassified report about Guantanamo Bay detainees after two detainees were transferred to Senegal.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Ayotte announced a hold on Department of Defense (DoD) general counsel nominee Jennifer O’Connor until the report is released to Congress.

“Despite the fact that more than 30 percent of former Guantanamo detainees are known or suspected to have reengaged in terrorism, and despite recent confirmation that some have even killed Americans, the administration announced the release of two more Gitmo detainees (on Monday),” Ayotte, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, wrote. “This administration’s continued failure to provide critical information to the American people about terrorist detainees is not only unacceptable — it violates the law.” 

Currently, when a Guantanamo Bay detainee is released, the DoD releases only the detainee’s name and the country to which they were transferred. Ayotte noted that no information is provided about the detainee’s previous terror associations or their risk assessment.

“The national security interests of the United States — and nothing else — should govern decision to release Guantanamo detainees,” Ayotte said. “If the administration believes these transfers are in the national security interests of the United States, it is difficult to understand the administration’s reluctance to comply with the law and level with the American people regarding the kinds of terrorists detained at Guantanamo.” 

Ayotte inserted a provision into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that required Carter to release an unclassified report to Congress that provides details about Guantanamo detainees, including prior terrorist activities and affiliations. The report was due in January, but Congress has not yet received it.

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