Tags: guantanamo | pentagon | gitmo | release | prisoner

Pentagon Official: American Deaths Have Come From Gitmo Releases

Image: Pentagon Official: American Deaths Have Come From Gitmo Releases
Paul Lewis, Department of Defense special envoy for Guantanamo closure (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 05:55 PM

The release of terrorist suspects from the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay have resulted in the deaths of Americans, a Pentagon official told Congress on Wednesday.

"What I can tell you is unfortunately, there have been Americans that have died because of Gitmo detainees," said Paul Lewis, the Pentagon's special envoy for Guantanamo closure, in testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, The Hill reports

Lewis provided no other details in the public hearing, according to The Hill, but The Associated Press quoted an unnamed Obama administration official as saying Lewis was referring to an Afghan suspect released during the George W. Bush administration.

"When anybody dies, it is tragedy and we don't want anybody to die because we transfer detainees," Lewis said. "However, it's the best judgment and the considered judgment of this administration and the previous administration that the risk of keeping Gitmo open is outweighed — that we should close Gitmo."

California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said he was "disgusted," and added, "As far as I'm concerned, if one child is saved because she would have been blown up by someone who's been released, it's better to keep all 90 of those people in Gitmo."

"There are unfortunately going to be acts of terrorism, probably whether the facility is opened or closed," Lee Wolosky, the State Department's special envoy for Guantanamo closure, told the committee. "The proper analysis is, 'What are the risks of keeping it open in light of the very obvious use of that facility as a propaganda tool,' which, frankly, you should not have to question."

Rohrabacher said he isn't convinced by arguments that keeping the facility open is serving as a recruitment tool for terrorists.

"I think the bigger recruiting tool today is when our government, especially at this administration, is perceived as being weak," he said.

"The Obama administration's confirmation today that former Guantanamo detainees have killed Americans is the single most important reason why the president should cease his misguided efforts to close the facility and release dangerous terrorists," Maine Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte said in written statement.

There are still 91 detainees at the facility, and 36 have been cleared to be transferred. Obama wants to close the facility entirely and move the remaining detainees to U.S. prisons. That plan is opposed by Republicans.

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The release of terrorist suspects from the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay have resulted in the deaths of Americans, a Pentagon official told Congress on Wednesday.
guantanamo, pentagon, gitmo, release, prisoner
384
2016-55-23
Wednesday, 23 Mar 2016 05:55 PM
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