Sen. Graham: 'It Is Insane to Be Letting These People Out of Gitmo'

Susan Jones | January 15, 2015 | 6:43am EST
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In this March 1, 2002 file photo, a detainee is escorted to interrogation by U.S. military guards at Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

( - The Obama administration on Wednesday released five more Guantanamo Bay detainees, just one week after the Paris terror attacks; and one day after Senate Republicans announced their plan to stop Obama from sending high- and medium-risk enemies to third countries that supposedly will monitor them.

"The war on terror has reached a lethal phase, and it is insane to be letting these people out of Gitmo to go back to the fight," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren Wednesday night.

The five latest Gitmo releases are all men from Yemen with links to al-Qaida. They were captured in Pakistan. Four will be sent to Oman and one to Estonia, the Pentagon said.

"The president of the United States has concluded that the war on terror has reached a point that we can safely release people from Gitmo. The best I can say about him is, he's unfocused," Graham said. "That's delusional thinking. The war on terror has reached a lethal phase, and it is insane to be letting these people out of Gitmo to go back to the fight. Thirty percent of the people released already have gone back to the fight.

"I believe the war has hit a point where we need to keep these guys in jail, at least for a couple years, until we can get a grip on what's going on throughout the world, particularly Iraq and Syria. Iraq and Syria are great platforms for radical Islamists to attack this county. And the president's going send them some reinforcements by letting people out of Gitmo. That makes no sense."

On Tuesday, Graham and other Republicans joined Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) in introducing legislation that would stop most Gitmo releases.

The Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act of 2015 would suspend international transfers of high- and medium-risk detainees, prohibit transfers of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, extend the current prohibition on transfers to the U.S., and increase transparency regarding risk assessments of the remaining Guantanamo detainees.

“It’s clear that we need a time out,” Ayotte said at a news conference on Tuesday. "Those that have been released from Guantanamo by not only this administration but the Bush administration as well, if you put those numbers together, we have almost a 30 percent suspected or confirmed cases of re-engagement of terrorism of those who have been released from Guantanamo."

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told Van Susteren on Tuesday that he supports Ayotte's bill.

"The problem is that the president has actually been quickening the releases to the point where 15 were released in Decmeber alone. Very little surveillance. Really, there's not a chance or the opportunity to make sure they don't go back into the fight. We now have over 100 who have been confirmed back into the fight against us."

Barrasso said the topic of the Gitmo releases did not come up when Republicans met with Obama at the white House on Tuesday, although the topic of national security did. He said the Gitmo controversy surely will be raised during upcoming Senate confirmation hearings for Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense.

"The risk is to the homeland. That's the risk with having this many people go back into the fight," Barrasso concluded.

An Army Reserve Medical Officer who formerly worked at Guantanamo Bay has written a new book about his experience there. Montgomery Granger told "Fox and Friends" Thursday morning he objects to the Gitmo releases:

"I think every American needs to ask themselves this question: Do you feel safer with detainees in or out of Gitmo? And if the answer is in, then you need to cry it from the tallest mountaintop; you need to call your representatives and your senators and get them to pass a bill that's in Congress right now to stop the release of detainees."

Also See:
Dempsey: Some Gitmo Detainees 'Simply Should Not Be Released'

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