U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today regarding reports that an Iraqi court has decided to release Ali Mussa Daqduq - a Hezbollah terrorist.
"Many of us warned that the transfer of Daqduq to the Iraqis would result in his release. The administration ignored these warnings, and now a terrorist with American blood on his hands is walking free in Lebanon. There is little doubt that Daqduq is again collaborating with fellow members of Hezbollah in anticipation of their next terrorist attack. Daqduq's release tragically demonstrates the need for this administration to develop a policy for the detention of foreign terrorists."
Daqduq is suspected of orchestrating a 2007 kidnapping and murder of five U.S. military personnel in Karbala, Iraq. Daqduq also trained Iraqi exremists in Iran in the use of explosively formed penetrators, mortars, rockets, and other tactics that were used against U.S. service members in Iraq.
In addition to questioning senior Defense Department officials about Daqduq in Senate Armed Services Committee hearings last year, as well as in a hearing yesterday, Senator Ayotte joined 19 other senators in sending a letter to Secretary Panetta on July 21, 2011. The letter expressed the senators' concerns that transferring Daqduq to Iraqi custody might result in his release and return to terrorist activities.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Ayotte has led efforts to develop a comprehensive terrorist detention policy that designates a secure facility outside of the United States for the detention and interrogation of current and future foreign terrorist detainees. She believes that the administration's desire to close Guantanamo and refusal to detain new high-value foreign terrorists at Guantanamo puts our military leaders in an awkward position, deprives our intelligence community of information to prevent future attacks, and risks the release of terrorists like Daqduq. In 2011, Senator Ayotte introduced legislation that would keep Gitmo open, keep terrorist detainees out of the United States, and limit the transfer of detainees from Gitmo to foreign countries.
According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, almost 28% of detainees who have been released from Guantanamo have reengaged or are suspected of having reengaged in terrorist activity.