WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's Republican foes unveiled legislation Thursday aiming to restrict his ability to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees overseas, notably to places like Yemen.
The measure, unveiled on the eve of what was once Obama's target date for closing the notorious facility, was unlikely to attract enough support from the president's Democratic allies to become law.
The Detainee Transfer and Release Security Act of 2010 aimed to require Obama to certify that a detainee's country of destination is not a state sponsor of terrorism, has control over its territory, and does not tolerate safe havens for extremists like Al-Qaeda.
The measure also called for the president to certify that there has been no confirmed case of a Guantanamo Bay detainee engaging in extremist activities after being released to a proposed destination.
House Minority Leader John Boehner; the number two House Republican, Eric Cantor; and the top Republicans on the House's armed services, homeland security, intelligence, judiciary, and foreign affairs committees backed the bill.
They cited the failed Christmas Day bombing of a US-bound passenger jet, saying the leader of the Al Qaeda offshoot in Yemen that planned and coordinated the attack was a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner.
Republicans, who largely kept quiet when Obama predecessor George W. Bush released Guantanamo Bay detainees, have made no secret that they plan to use the issue against Democrats in the November elections.
© AFP 2013