Barack Obama’s decision to release terrorist suspects from the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay has resulted in the deaths of Americans, a Pentagon official told Congress on Wednesday.
“What I can tell you is unfortunately, there have been Americans that have died because of Gitmo detainees,” said Paul Lewis, the Pentagon’s special consul for the facility’s closure, in testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Lewis provided no specific details as to how many deaths were directly related to the release of the former detainees in the public hearing, according to a report published by The Hill.
“When anybody dies, it is tragedy and we don’t want anybody to die because we transfer detainees,” said Lewis. “However, it’s the best judgment and the considered judgment of this administration and the previous administration that the risk of keeping Gitmo open is outweighed — that we should close Gitmo.”
California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said he was “disgusted” by the revelatrion. “As far as I’m concerned, if one child is saved because she would have been blown up by someone who’s been released, it’s better to keep all 90 of those people in Gitmo,” he said
“There are unfortunately going to be acts of terrorism, probably whether the facility is opened or closed,” Lee Wolosky, State Department’s special liaison for the facility’s closure, told the committee. “The proper analysis is, ‘What are the risks of keeping it open in light of the very obvious use of that facility as a propaganda tool,’ which, frankly, you should not have to question.”
According to a report published by Newsmax, Rohrabacher said he isn’t swayed by the Obama administration’s claim that keeping the facility open is serving as a recruitment tool for terrorists. “I think the bigger recruiting tool today is when our government, especially at this administration, is perceived as being weak,” he said.
“The Obama administration’s confirmation today that former Guantanamo detainees have killed Americans is the single most important reason why the president should cease his misguided efforts to close the facility and release dangerous terrorists,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R- Maine) said in written statement.
There are currently 91 detainees still being held at the facility, 36 of which have been cleared for transfer. Barack Obama has said that he wants to close the facility entirely and move the remaining detainees to U.S. prisons, a plan vehemently opposed by Republicans.