Release of senior Taliban from Gitmo illegal: Congressional report
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The Obama administration broke the law by releasing five senior Taliban detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, a Congressional report alleged on Thursday.
The report was released by Congressman Mac Thornberry, chairman of House Armed Services Committee, and Vicky Hartzler, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
“Our report finds that the administration clearly broke the law in not notifying Congress of the transfer,” said Thornberry.
In May 2014, President Obama transferred five senior Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. Since this transfer, the House Armed Services Committee has been conducting an investigation into the actions of Secretary Hagel and senior DOD officials involved in the transfer, including the legality of their conduct, he said
Leading up to the transfer, DOD officials misled Congress as to the status of negotiations, Thornberry alleged.
“Pentagon officials best positioned to assess the national security risks were left out of the process, which increases the chances of dangerous consequences from the transfer. It is irresponsible to put these terrorists that much closer to the battlefield to settle a campaign promise and unconscionable to mislead Congress in the process,” he said.
Hartzler said most disturbing to her are the calculated decisions and plans to mislead Congress and the American people as to the details and necessity of this transfer.
“The findings of this report should give each of us pause. After a review of the detainees at Guantanamo, ordered by President Obama, the Taliban 5 were included in a group of 48 detainees deemed ‘too dangerous to transfer.’ Despite this, they were transferred,” she said.
“Getting all the facts and all the information necessary to complete this report was no simple task, but it is our responsibility to get the facts and present them to the public.After rigorous investigation, there are still some unknowns.
"We still do not know if we negotiated for less than five detainees. We do not know how five was determined to be the ‘right’ number in this exchange. However, we now know to what extent this Administration is willing to go to achieve political goals,” the congresswoman said.
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