Senate passes amendment delaying Gitmo closure funds

Members of the US Senate on May 19 voted 90-6 to approve an amendment eliminating $80 million from pending legislation intended to fund the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. Introduced by Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and co-sponsored by five Republican senators, the measure prohibits using any funding provided by the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 to “transfer, relocate, or incarcerate Guantanamo Bay detainees to or within the United States.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said during a press conference that release of the funding would depend on the availability of a detailed plan from President Barack Obama, and does not need to be considered with the supplemental appropriations bill:

This is neither the time nor the bill to deal with this. Democrats under no circumstances will move forward without a comprehensive, responsible plan from the president. We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced a separate amendment which would require Obama to submit periodic reports to Senate leaders providing a “threat assessment” of all detainees then held at Guantanamo Bay. McConnell has been criticized Obama’s plan to close the detention facility, saying that the administration “doesn’t know what to do with” the 240 detainees currently being held there. A cloture vote on the appropriations bill is expected this week. (Jurist, May 20)

See our last post on the Gitmo and the detainment scandal.

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  1. Gitmo recidivism —or radicalization?
    Michael Calderone of provides an astute spin on the May 21 New York Times account of a Pentagon report finding a 14% rate of recidivism in ex-Gitmo detainees (74 “returned to terrorism or militant activity”):

    The New York Times led today’s paper with an explosive headline based on a leaked Pentagon study: “1 in 7 Detainees Rejoined Jihad, Pentagon Finds.”

    But did the detainees “rejoin” militant groups, or could they have been cleared and joined for the first time? Could they have been radicalized at Gitmo? According to The Times’ new headline on the web, it’s unclear: “Later Terror Link Cited for 1 in 7 Freed Detainees.”

    In an e-mail exchange, Times editors told Calderone there was no need for a correction.