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Senators Write Secretary Carter and General Dunford With Concerns Over Release of Shaker Aamer From Guantanamo Bay

November 20, 2015

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C.- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) along with Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today sent letters to the Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., expressing concern over the Obama Administration's recent release of Shaker Aamer from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

The letters note that the notification of transfer for Mr. Aaemer did not list the Joint Chiefs of Staff as one of the entities "concurring" and "approving" of the transfer, as is normally the case. This indicates that the Chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff did not agree with the Administration's decision to release Shaker Aamer. The letters go on to request Secretary Carter and General Dunford answers to questions about this transfer to the Senate and House Armed Services, Intelligence, Foreign Relations, Homeland Security, and Appropriations Committees.

The questions to Secretary Carter are:

1. What were the key factors that led the Joint Chiefs not to concur on your decision to transfer Shaker Aamer?

2. Were the Joint Chiefs concerned that his release could put at risk the lives of U.S. servicemembers?

3. Do you plan to continue seeking the advice of the Joint Chiefs on future transfers?

4. Did you review the Shaker Aamer press release prior to publication? If so, why did you publicly claim the Guantanamo Review Task Force unanimously supported Aamer's transfer when it does not appear the Joint Chiefs supported that transfer decision?

The questions to General Dunford are:

1. What were the key factors that led the Joint Chiefs to not to concur on the decision to transfer Shaker Aamer?

2. Did the Secretary of Defense notify your office that it would continue with the transfer despite your office's non-concurrence?

3. Is it your understanding that the Secretary will seek your concurrence and approval on your future transfers?

 

The full text of the letters can be found here and here.