Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) condemned the Obama administration for its release of nine terrorists from confinement at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay and shipping them to Saudi Arabia. Nine Yemenis were transferred to Saudi Arabia on April 16 as part of negotiations for Obama’s proximate trip to the Oil Kingdom.
Ayotte, who is facing a tight race for re-election this year, said the transfer “unnecessarily put Americans at increased risk.” In a press release, she wrote “With the release announced this weekend of nine Yemeni detainees to Saudi Arabia, the administration continues to dangerously release terrorists from Guantanamo and unnecessarily put Americans at increased risk in order to fulfill a misguided campaign promise—all while refusing to level with the American people regarding the detainees’ terrorist risks, activities, and affiliations.”
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Ayotte has sought to prevent Obama’s promised closure of the Guantanamo facility, and a transfer of the terrorists to prisons in the United States. This month, Ayotte re-introduced legislation to prevent Obama from transferring the detainees to the U.S. or anywhere else. “Continuing to release these dangerous terrorists is reckless and poses a serious threat to our troops, our allies, and our country,” Ayotte said pointed out.
The Department of Defense estimates that approximately 30 percent of detainees released from Guantanamo have returned to terrorism.
Ayotte has also co-sponsored the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Protection Act. Introduced in February, the proposed measure seeks to force the White House to obtain Congressional approval before modifying the use or lease of the base. “The president may not modify, terminate, abandon, or transfer the lease with the Government of Cuba by which the United States acquired 45-square miles of land and waters that currently contain Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unless the president notifies Congress … and after such notification, Congress enacts a law authorizing that modification, termination, abandonment, or transfer,” the bill says.
Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) is running against Ayotte. Ayotte has made her experience in foreign policy the centerpiece of the race, having contrasted herself with Hassan’s inexperience. Hassan once said that she was open to closing Guantanamo, but later recanted when Obama offered his plans.
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