Friday | August 21, 2015

Senator Scott and South Carolina Congressional Colleagues Call on Obama Administration to Halt Plans to Move Gitmo Prisoners to US Soil

Greenville, SC- Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), joined by five fellow members of the South Carolina congressional delegation, wrote to President Obama calling for the immediate halt of any plan to relocatedangerous international terrorists currently held in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba to any domestic sites on US soil.

The president, early on, announced that he would closeGuantanamo Bay and last week,the Department of Defense begunconducting site surveys in the United States to look at options for places to housedetainees.The Consolidated Naval Brig (Brig) in Charleston, Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, along with several other undisclosed facilities are under consideration by the Obama Administration.

The letter in part reads, "We are extremely concerned that your administration is conducting site surveys to review the Consolidated Naval Brig (Brig) in Charleston, South Carolina, among other areas, as potential sites to relocate dangerous international terrorists currently held in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. This action is ill advised and could prove to be dangerous for the American people, particularly those in South Carolina. Unfortunately, it appears that your administration is more concerned about fulfilling hopeless campaign promises than protecting the safety and security of the American people.

"We write to respectfully request an immediate halt to this plan and to inform you we are prepared to use all possible means to keep terrorists in Guantanamo Bay and off American soil."

Their letter goes on to note that, "To be clear, we do not simply oppose moving Guantanamo Bay terrorists to South Carolina-we strongly oppose any efforts to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and move its detainees to anywhere in the U.S. or the rest of the world. There is no plan or study that shows transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to South Carolina or any other domestic location will make America safer. Any effort to remove them from the facility only allows a possibility of them returning to their previous lives as vicious terrorists who are ready, willing and able to kill innocent people across the world."

In addition to Senator Scott, the letter was signed byCongressmen Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy, Mick Mulvaney, Mark Sanford, and Tom Rice.Its text is included below.


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August 20, 2015

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama,

We are extremely concerned that your administration is conducting site surveys to review the Consolidated Naval Brig (Brig) in Charleston, South Carolina, among other areas, as potential sites to relocate dangerous international terrorists currently held in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. This action is ill advised and could prove to be dangerous for the American people, particularly those in South Carolina. Unfortunately, it appears that your administration is more concerned about fulfilling hopeless campaign promises than protecting the safety and security of the American people.

We write to respectfully request an immediate halt to this plan and to inform you we are prepared to use all possible means to keep terrorists in Guantanamo Bay and off American soil.

As we're sure you are aware, Congress has spoken clearly on the issue of moving terrorists from Guantanamo to the United States. Starting with theNational Defense Authorization Act for FY2013 and the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, Congress has specifically prohibited funds from being used to transfer or release detainees into the United States, or to assist in the transfer or release of detainees into the country.

Notwithstanding being clearly against the law, the intent of Congress, and the will of the American people, populating the Consolidated Naval Brig with some of the world's most dangerous terrorists and killers would be terribly irresponsible.

The Brig is located less than a mile from a school, and there are other schools and multiple residential neighborhoods nearby. Understandably, our constituents do not want for themselves or their friends or family to go to school or live near known members of al Qaeda who wish nothing more than to kill Americans, or to be so close to what will instantly become a high value terrorist target. We are confident this is true of anyone.

The Brig is also in close proximity to one of our nation's busiest ports, the Port of Charleston, as well as the City of Charleston, which was named the number one tourist destination in the United States.

Just a short distance down the road from the elementary schools and Port is the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center Atlantic, and the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command. Both of these strategic military installations are vital to our national defense and military readiness and would only further raise the profile for the area to become a target for terrorism. Rolling out a red carpet for the remaining 116 terrorists at Guantanamo Bay in this immediate area is an ill-conceived combination that brings too much risk.

To be clear, we do not simply oppose moving Guantanamo Bay terrorists to South Carolina-we strongly oppose any efforts to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and move its detainees to anywhere in the U.S. or the rest of the world. There is no plan or study that shows transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to South Carolina or any other domestic location will make America safer. Any effort to remove them from the facility only allows a possibility of them returning to their previous lives as vicious terrorists who are ready, willing and able to kill innocent people across the world. According to a March 2015 report by the Director of National Intelligence,17 percent of Guantanamo terrorists have been confirmed in reengaging in terrorist activity and another 10 percent are suspected of reengaging in terrorism.

There is no need to recreate Guantanamo Bay at great risk and expense domestically when it already exists.

With these facts in mind, we strongly encourage you to keep the terrorists in Guantanamo Bay where they belong, and pass on fulfilling a political promise that would jeopardize America's national security.

Whatever your decision, we respectfully request that you keep our offices informed on any and all plans going forward regarding moving Guantanamo Bay terrorists to the United States.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,
/s/ Senator Tim Scott
/s/ Congressman Mark Sanford (SC-01)
/s/ Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02)
/s/ Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC - 03)
/s/ Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04)
/s/ Congressman Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)
/s/ Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07)

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