Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Blasts Pentagon Plan To Close Gitmo Prison

Feb 23, 2016
Press Release
Federal Law Prohibits Closing Gitmo or Transferring Prisoners to U.S.

“Dangerous, Irresponsible and Illegal Action”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today voiced strong opposition to the Pentagon’s plan to permanently shutter the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, calling it a “dangerous, irresponsible and illegal action that will put American lives at risk.”

According to press reports, the Pentagon proposal includes a recommendation to transfer as many Guantanamo Bay detainees as possible to countries around the world including the United States.

Among the 13 potential locations being considered by the Pentagon in the U.S. to house the “worst of the worst” are seven existing prison facilities in Colorado, South Carolina and Kansas, as well as six other locations on current military bases, according to the Associated Press.

“Bringing terrorists – like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind responsible for planning the horrific deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans – onto U.S. soil and to outside countries can only be characterized as dangerous and irresponsible at best,” Buchanan said. “Just several weeks ago the Administration’s own intelligence officials made clear ISIS will continue to target the United States in 2016. We cannot afford to release these hardened terrorists back onto the battlefield where they are able to rejoin terrorist networks and carry out horrific attacks.” 

Approximately one in three detainees released from the detention center are either confirmed or suspected of reengaging with terrorism, according to a Director of National Intelligence report.

Under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by President Obama himself, the transfer of Gitmo detainees onto U.S. soil is specifically prohibited. The NDAA also bans the use of federal funds to close the military prison in Cuba or to build any facility in the U.S. to house these enemy combatants.  

“The President is not above the law,” Buchanan said. “As our nation fights ISIS and radical Islamic extremism around the world, the last thing we should do is close a facility used to house and interrogate individuals determined to kill Americans.”