Congress, White House Spar Over Guantanamo Records

Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 06:09 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is caught in a standoff with Congress over records documenting the release of suspected militants from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo, Cuba.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has approved an intelligence authorization bill requiring the administration to turn over diplomatic cables and other material documenting contacts between U.S. and foreign governments who agreed to accept released Guantanamo detainees for resettlement.

But the White House is threatening a presidential veto of any bill including the Guantanamo provisions. In a message sent to Congress last week, it said disclosing such information to Congress "would have a significant adverse impact" on foreign governments' willingness to deal candidly with Washington.

The Senate bill's provisions, which originated with Republican senators but were backed in a secret vote by a committee Democrat, would require the Director of National Intelligence to turn over documentation which risks political embarrassment for the U.S. administration.

The bill requires the DNI to provide the intelligence committees with State Department cables and other documents outlining what the U.S. government has been telling foreign governments about security risks or problems individual detainees would pose if released from custody and resettled outside the United States.

It also requires that the committees be given copies of records documenting "assurances" from foreign governments regarding how the detainees would be monitored.

Congressional officials said that in order to be able to assess the prudence and care with which the Obama administration has been releasing detainees, it is essential for Congress to review this documentation in detail.

In December, the DNI released statistics showing that one in four of the 598 detainees released from Guantanamo are either suspected or confirmed to have engaged in "terrorist or insurgent activities" after their release.

"I believe this provision must be part of any final authorization bill, unless the administration moves quickly to work with the committee on a reasonable alternative accommodation," Saxby Chambliss, Republican vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee, said Tuesday.

But in its message to Congress, the Office of Management and Budget said that the relevant documents contain "deliberative commentary and sensitive diplomatic discussions and negotiations."

The State Department refused to send the material to Capitol Hill, the message suggested, "because of the need to protect diplomatic communications in conducting effective foreign relations."

OMB and DNI representatives declined to comment further.

The Obama administration has already faced criticism for releasing detainees from Guantanamo who subsequently returned to battlefields as frontline fighters against U.S. or allied forces in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

Congressional sources say that behind the scenes, administration officials have been trying to negotiate a deal in which some risk assessment materials would be sent to Congress, but foreign government "assurances" would still be withheld.

The House Intelligence Committee did not include the Guantanamo provision in similar legislation later passed by the House of Representatives. However, senators are still holding out for greater disclosure.

Some congressional officials also note that some of the information the Senate committee has requested is already publicly available in classified Guantanamo dossiers made public by WikiLeaks.

But congressional and executive branch security officials have forbid congressional investigators from calling up this material on their classified government computer networks.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Thousands of Iranians Protest Recent Acid Attacks on Women

Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 06:58 AM

Several thousand Iranians in the city of Isfahan demonstrated against a spate of acid attacks against women and a recent . . .

Bono Joins Lobbying Push on Ebola as US Loosens Purse Strings

Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 06:53 AM

Zimek Technologies thinks it has just the thing to help the U.S. fight Ebola: an automated disinfecting system that can  . . .

A New Ebola Vaccine? Thank Dick Cheney

Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 06:47 AM

Thomas Geisbert spent the '90s scraping together funds to work on an Ebola cure. Occasionally, he'd get enough to test a . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved