In this file photo reviewed by a U.S. Department of Defense official, U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
UPDATED 8:30 AM PT – Thursday, May 27, 2021
Republican senators wrote a letter to Joe Biden regarding their opposition to release detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Reports on Tuesday shared that Republican Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and his colleagues sent the letter to Biden regarding the Periodic Review Board’s decision to release three detainees and transfer them to other countries.
The detainees include Saifulla Paracha, who was considered by U.S. Intelligence as a facilitator of financial transactions after the 9/11 attacks. Lawmakers cited the unnecessary risk of the American people involved in transferring the detainees.
The Obama administration previously pledged to shut down the prison, but was met with opposition in Congress. Then in 2018, President Trump signed an executive order to keep it open. Biden administration officials have recently announced goals to close the prison following calls from Democrat lawmakers to do so. However, the White House has appeared reluctant to make any promises on the matter.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki spoke of this possible closure at her daily news briefing on Friday.
“I would note in order to see this process through completely and thoroughly, there are a number of key policy rolls that still need to be filled within the inter-agency,” she explained. “There are many different players from different agencies that need to be part of the policy discussion about the steps forward.”
GOP lawmakers argue the closure could potentially be dangerous to citizens. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) recently introduced new legislation that would block the Defense Department from funding any transfers or releases of Guantanamo prisoners to or within the United States.
“Number one, terrorists are not going to be held on U.S. soil,” she asserted. “Number two, if they were ever to consider it we’d ensure that South Carolina, especially the Charleston brig, is not that location.”
Mace went on to say that moving some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world is unacceptable and “irresponsible.”