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McKeon and Smith on HASC O&J Recidivism Report

Raffaela Wakeman
Thursday, February 9, 2012, 1:50 PM
House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon released the following statement on the detainee recidivism report:

House Armed Services Committee Releases Report on Risk Levels in the Release of Detainees from Guantanamo Bay

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House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon released the following statement on the detainee recidivism report:

House Armed Services Committee Releases Report on Risk Levels in the Release of Detainees from Guantanamo Bay

 WASHINGTON – Today the House Armed Services Committee Republicans released a report finding that both the Bush and Obama Administrations assumed a questionable level of risk in the release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The report found at least 27% of detainees released by the US military have been confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities, up from 25% in 2010. Some former detainees hold leadership positions with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Commenting on the report, Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) said “My sincere thanks to members of the Armed Services Committee for undertaking a complex and difficult study. It appears that, despite well intentioned and sincere efforts by government officials, our detainee release policy could be unnecessarily risky and potentially harmful to U.S. national security.  We must do a better job addressing the problems with detainees releases and reengagement concerns.” “With this report released today, it is clear that government policy and review on detainee transfers must be improved,” Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman (R-VA) said. “The facts indicate that neither the Bush nor Obama Administrations sufficiently addressed the problem of reengagement and detainee transfers.  I have talked with battlefield commanders in Afghanistan, and the last thing they want is to re-engage with enemy combatants they have already captured. This report shows that the leadership and intelligence communities in the U.S. have more work to do to ensure we are not unnecessarily putting our troops in harm’s way, and are not allowing enemies who wish our country harm get back in the fight. I am proud of the bi-partisan work the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee has done to further the dialogue on this critical national security issue. ”
Ranking Minority Member Adam Smith also released a statement:
The minority members of the Oversight and Investigations Committee did not sign on to the report. Instead, the members responded by providing supplemental “Dissenting Views” and an “Additional Statement from Rep. Jim Cooper, joined by other minority members of the Oversight and Investigation Committee.”  “As the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I strongly believe that we must have a legal, coherent and effective strategy to deal with detainees and prisoners of war. I am committed to working with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to develop a comprehensive approach that ensures the national security of the United States.  “While I believe the Administration’s current approach is not perfect, it has clearly improved over time and it continues to get better.  In a constructive way, Congress should play an active role in continuing to refine this policy. Congress should also utilize its oversight authorities to ensure a coherent and legal detainee policy is in place.   “It was my hope that this report would play a role in developing that strategy. Unfortunately, it does not. In fact, the report may very well distract us from the core national security issues at stake. For example, the report does not, in a thorough way, entertain the national security gains of shutting down the facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This is a goal that the Bush Administration sought to achieve, and it is rightly a goal of the Obama Administration. I continue to believe that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is a black eye for our on nation abroad, serving as a powerful recruiting tool for terrorist. We have the ability to close the facility, and we should be working towards that end.   “The minority and majority worked together in good faith to try to come to an agreement that would allow the minority to sign onto this report. There were attempts on both sides to reconcile the differences, but they fell short. This is a decent start, but we need to do more. A more detailed assessment of the report is attached in the dissenting views document.”

Raffaela Wakeman is a Senior Director at In-Q-Tel. She started her career at the Brookings Institution, where she spent five years conducting research on national security, election reform, and Congress. During this time she was also the Associate Editor of Lawfare. From there, Raffaela practiced law at the U.S. Department of Defense for four years, advising her clients on privacy and surveillance law, cybersecurity, and foreign liaison relationships. She departed DoD in 2019 to join the Majority Staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where she oversaw the Intelligence Community’s science and technology portfolios, cybersecurity, and surveillance activities. She left HPSCI in May 2021 to join IQT. Raffaela received her BS and MS in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009 and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 2015, where she was recognized for her commitment to public service with the Joyce Chiang Memorial Award. While at the Department of Defense, she was the inaugural recipient of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s General Counsel Award for exhibiting the highest standards of leadership, professional conduct, and integrity.

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