January , 2019

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Amendment to National Defense Authorization Act Filed Today


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to reduce foreign aid for nations who lose track of terrorists formerly held at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. Since 2009, the Administration has aggressively sought to empty out the detention facility in an effort to fulfill a campaign promise. In December 2015, former Gitmo detainee Ibrahim al-Qosi resurfaced as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s spokesman after the Administration transferred him to Sudan in July 2012. To better ensure that terrorists don’t return to the fight, this amendment would reduce foreign aid to any nation that allows transferred Gitmo detainees to escape or return to terrorism.

“There needs to be real accountability after the Administration transferred Ibrahim al-Qosi to Sudan, and Sudan let the former Guantanamo terrorist detainee re-emerge as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s chief recruiter. Secretary Kerry simply saying al-Qosi is “not supposed to be doing that is not accountability. While Gitmo remains the safest and most secure place on the planet to lock up enemy combatants like al-Qosi, any country that accepts Gitmo transferees and loses control of these terrorists should face severe consequences,” said Senator Kirk.

“National security is among the most important and fundamental responsibilities of the federal government outlined in the U.S. Constitution and expected by the American people,” said Senator Lankford. “In the fight against terrorism, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is the best solution to house and keep terrorists from continuing their fight against freedom. The nations who harbor these detainees have the responsibility to closely monitor them. Our own Director of National Intelligence estimates that nearly one in three former Guantanamo Bay detainees have reengaged or are suspected to have reengaged in terrorism. This amendment will prevent terrorists from re-entering the fight and remind other nations who may accept them that they are expected to keep these terrorists off the battlefield.”

On January 27, Senators Kirk and Lankford sent a letter calling on Senate Appropriations leaders to reduce taxpayer-funded foreign aid for nations who lose track of terrorists formerly held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.  


Blocking the Transfer of Gitmo Detainees

  • The FY16 omnibus contained Senator Kirk-driven language to block the transfer of Gitmo detainees into the U.S. and prohibit the construction of any facility on American soil to house Gitmo detainees. These Kirk provisions have been included in annual appropriations bills since FY11.
  • Senator Kirk authored this language in order to block the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense from acting on a 2009 Presidential memorandum to relocate detainees to Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois.
  • The FY 16 omnibus also requires notification of any agreement reached between the U.S. and another country regarding the transfer or release of Gitmo detainees.

Additional Kirk Actions

  • Senator Kirk led a group of senators in a letter urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to reduce foreign aid to Ghana if the country is unable to hold and monitor the two detainees transferred there and ensure they do not reengage in terrorist activities.
  • Senator Kirk co-sponsored S. 165, Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act of 2015, to prohibit the transfer or release of Gitmo prisoners.
  • Senator Kirk requested language in the FY12 CJS Appropriations bill to prohibit the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
  • In the 112th Congress, Senator Kirk authored S. 209 to prohibit the use of funds to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S.
  • In 2011, Senator Kirk wrote Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the reversal of efforts to move Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Thomson, Ill., but to allow the federal government to operate Thomson Correctional Center as a maximum-security federal prison. 
  • Senator Kirk led Illinois Republicans in the House in successfully inserting language in the FY11 National Defense Authorization Act to block the transfer of Gitmo detainees into the U.S.
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