U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, expressed frustration and concern over the Majority’s weakening Congress’ request for information on the disposition of detained terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay.
In a Committee mark-up of H.Res. 922, a Resolution of Inquiry (RoI) regarding Guantanamo Bay detainees, the Committee chairman limited the scope of the request.
Congressman Dent is an original cosponsor of H.Res. 922, introduced on November 19, 2009. The resolution as introduced provides the Secretary of Homeland Secretary fourteen days to produce copies of all records and documents regarding the Department’s “planning, information sharing, and coordination with any State or locality in the United States, including New York City, that has or will receive detainees” after January 20, 2009.
An amendment offered by Chairman Bennie Thompson (MS-02) directs the Secretary to transmit to Congress notifications by the Department to the Governor of any State that may receive a detainee and any official correspondence between the Governor of that state and DHS.
But this request may be futile in light of President Obama’s directive last month that charged the Secretaries of Defense and State and the Attorney General with the authority to correspond with States, including New York, regarding the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Congressman Dent, who serves as the Ranking Member for the Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure, has long expressed concern about potential security threats related to the transfer of Gitmo detainees stateside.
“I am extremely aggravated that the Majority has deliberately narrowed this Congressional request for information on a national security issue of this magnitude,” Congressman Dent said. “For the past 11 months, I have pursued the Administration about their plans and procedures to close Gitmo. And for 10 months, I have pursued the Majority with a request to inspect the Guantanamo Bay facility, a request that continues to go unfulfilled. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the mastermind of the attacks on September 11th 2001. Congress should, at the minimum, have the opportunity to review information critical to the security of our homeland.”