Congressmen Wolf and Myrick Demand Halt to GITMO Detainee Releases to Afghanistan

March 30, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - - Once again taking the lead against the Obama administration's harmful disregard of the effect its GITMO release policy is having, today Frank Wolf [R-VA] and Rep. Sue Myrick [R-NC] asked team Obama to stop its policy of releasing GITMO detainees to Afghanistan.

The action follows credible reports that a detainee released in December already has returned to the jihad. As a consequence to similar demands by GOP Congressmen, the administration in January halted sending detainees back to Yemen after it became clear that the failed Christmas Day bomber developed links to al-Qaeda there.

Myrick and Wolf also asked to be provided with an updated, unclassified version of the recidivism rate of Guantanamo Bay detainees - it's been reported that is it now over 20 percent.

As part of Congressman Wolf and Myrick's statement they said, "we must learn from our past mistakes and prevent additional detainees from rejoining the fight against our armed forces and aid workers in Afghanistan,"

Wolf is the ranking minority memeber on the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Justice Department and Myrick is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Below, from Wolf and Myrick's open letter to president Obama:

"Dear Mr. President...We are deeply concerned about recent reports that Abdul Hafiz, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee released by the Obama Administration to Afghanistan on December 19, 2009, has already returned to terrorist activities with the Taliban. As you may know, we ardently opposed the decision to transfer Hafiz and the other detainees to Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia last December.

Hafiz was held in Guantanamo for more than six years as "a suspect in the murder of an International Red Cross worker in Afghanistan," according to multiple Department of Defense [DOD] documents. He was captured and transferred to Guantanamo Bay following the 2003 kidnap and murder of Ricardo Munguia, a Salvadoran aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross and first aid worker murdered in Afghanistan following the arrival of coalition forces.

Given the reported rise in detainee recidivism -- from 13 percent to more than 20 percent over the last year alone -- it is troubling that this administration chose to ignore these findings and continues to suppress Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] reports on recidivism from the American people. We must learn from past mistakes and prevent additional detainees from rejoining the fight against our armed forces and aid workers in Afghanistan. As such, we urge the administration to release an unclassified version of the updated DIA recidivism report to the American people.

We strongly support your decision to cease the release of detainees to Yemen and urge you to extend this policy to Afghanistan and other unstable countries. It is wholly inappropriate to release terrorist detainees to the battlefield in Afghanistan while we have U.S. troops on the ground fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda."

On related matters, Congressional Republicans remain at loggerheads with the administration and especially AG Holder over the DOJ's repeated stonewalling [see previous articles, for example Turning Tail in Yemen, will Obama Now Admit the Failure of his GITMO Repatriation Policy?] of legitimate information requests necessary for reasonable Congressional oversight on national security matters.

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