Cruz Bill Would Halt Gitmo Releases

Monday, 09 Jun 2014 10:34 PM

By Jason Devaney

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Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to introduce legislation Tuesday that would temporarily halt transfers of detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

The proposal would ban the practice until lawmakers and officials are finished investigating the prisoner swap involving five detainees for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl.

The bill would place a hold on government funding to free detainees from the prison, although prisoners could still be released if President Barack Obama asked Congress for permission and received it, Politico reports.

"Until President Obama can make his case and convince the American public that this swap was in our national interest, prudence dictates that all further transfers and releases from Guantanamo Bay should be off the table," Cruz said on the Senate floor on Monday, according to Politico.

Republicans and Democrats have cried foul over Bergdahl's release for several reasons. For one, it sent a message to the world that the United States would negotiate with terrorists and give in to their demands. And Bergdahl was reportedly a deserter, having walked away from his unit in the middle of the night five years ago at a remote outpost in Afghanistan.

Several U.S. soldiers were killed during rescue missions in the immediate weeks after Bergdahl went missing and was captured by the Taliban.

"We cannot know for sure how many American soldiers paid the ultimate price to capture these five senior terrorists," said Cruz, a Texas Republican.

"Even as many other detainees at Gitmo have been released, up until now these five have been considered too dangerous to let go. Given the level of threat they represent, any proposal to release them should be of the utmost seriousness. Unfortunately, by all indications, the administration's release treated their threat as anything but serious."

Congress was not informed of the discussions to secure Bergdahl's release, although between 80 and 90 administration staffers were aware.

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