Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today commented on the Defense Department's decision to transfer an admitted terrorist from Guantanamo bay to a country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism:
"However pleased I am to see that military commissions, including prosecution of the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks, are finally underway again at Guantanamo after so many years of delay; the decision to send Ibrahim al-Qosi to Sudan is troubling. I expressed these concerns to Secretary Panetta in advance of this transfer. Transferring an admitted war criminal who personally worked for Osama bin Laden to an unstable state, designated by the State Department as a "state sponsor of terrorism," where al Qaeda has a long history and close regional affiliates, is unwise in the extreme. These kinds of decisions certainly impact our view about the continued need for Congress's role in ensuring former Guantanamo detainees do not return to the battlefield."
Last month, the Secretary of Defense notified the Committee that al-Qosi would be sent to Sudan following the completion of his sentence. Following that notification, Chairman McKeon expressed his reservations to the Department of Defense in a classified letter. The House Passed FY13 NDAA includes provisions requiring the Secretary of Defense to certify that when detainees are transferred from Guantanamo to third party states, certain security requirements must be met. The FY13 NDAA would also prohibit the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to nations designated as state sponsors of terrorism. President Obama has threatened to veto the FY13 NDAA if provisions regarding the safe and effective detention of terrorists transferred to third party states are not dropped before the bill reaches his desk.