Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) proposed legislation this week that prohibits President Obama from releasing any more detainees at Guantanamo Bay until he justifies the release of the “Taliban Five.”
Obama quickly released five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo in order to trade them for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. But that swap raised questions among Republicans about whether the swap was wise, especially in light of findings that the five Taliban soldiers still pose a threat to the United States.
Gohmert’s bill, like the companion bill in the Senate offered by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), says the administration has to explain its decision before more detainees are released.
“The release of the five dangerous Taliban leaders by the Obama Administration is truly outrageous,” Gohmert said Monday. “Time and time again this administration has shown the American people that it is as transparent as hardened mud, though it has claimed more transparency more often than any administration since the Carter administration’s chaotic term in the White House.
“Not only does this prisoner exchange put the lives of countless Americans in jeopardy, it displays to the world that the U.S. will negotiate with terrorists; and, that frankly puts us in a frightening place,” he said.
Under the bill, the administration could only release more detainees 90 days after submitting a report explaining its rationale for releasing the Taliban Five. If the administration chooses not to submit a report, it would have to wait 180 days before releasing anyone.
Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) co-sponsored the bill, and agreed that the administration needed to spend more time consulting with Congress before releasing the Taliban soldiers. Earlier this month, House Republicans said they were given just five hours notice about the prisoner swap — administration officials said later that they had to move quickly to secure Bergdahl’s release.
“It is clear that the administration is not properly vetting these situations with Congress and they are putting Americans at risk,” Flores said. “This legislation takes a crucial step to make sure that Congress is fully informed of the potential future risks and dangerous implications these five terrorists pose for the U.S. going forward.”
Rep. Pompeo criticized the administration’s “catch and release” approach to fighting terrorists.