Senators Emphasize Dangers of Closing Guantanamo with News of Former Gitmo Detainee Becoming al-Qaeda Leader

Washington – U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the following statements regarding reports that a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Ibrahim al-Qosi, has become a senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Qosi, transferred from Guantanamo to his native Sudan in 2012, appears in a video released this week by AQAP that encourages small cell terror attacks in the West.

“As the President rushes to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, we have been given a clear picture of exactly the type of terrorist he is talking about releasing,” Scott said. “These terrorists want another San Bernardino, another Paris, and by basing his national security policies on a political promise to close Guantanamo, I fear the President is only increasing the danger to our nation and our people. Guantanamo is the perfect place to hold some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, and any effort to close the facility and move the remaining detainees to domestic soil will be met with fierce opposition in Congress and among the American people.”

“Just seven days after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino and at a time when our nation is vulnerable to both home grown threats and those from abroad, I see no reason to add to these security concerns by placing terrorists currently held at Guantanamo in American communities,” Roberts said. “As we were reminded with these attacks, we are still very much at war with terrorism. Guantanamo should remain open and we should not underestimate the zeal of these terrorists to return to the battlefield. Look no further than former Guantanamo detainee, Ibrahim al-Qosi.”

Senator Gardner said, “The President’s rush to empty the cells at Guantanamo recklessly endangers our national interests abroad and our safety here at home. This news confirms what we’ve known all along: Guantanamo Bay houses some of the world’s deadliest terrorists, and the secure facility at Guantanamo is exactly where they belong. They do not belong back on the battlefield fighting against us, nor do they belong on U.S. soil. It’s time for the President to recognize that simple fact, which is already enshrined in U.S. law.”

In November, 86 percent of the House and Senate voted for legislation that bars the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to domestic soil. The White House has repeatedly stated their desire for Congress to “get out of the way” and let them close Guantanamo, regardless of the 30 percent recidivism rate among released detainees, the hundreds of millions of dollars it will cost to construct a new facility, and the fact that opening domestic facility would place a bright red bulls eye on an American community. The Administration has already surveyed sites in South Carolina, Kansas, and Colorado as potential replacements for Guantanamo.