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Washington, D.C. – In light of recent reports indicating that a Taliban detainee released from Guantanamo Bay as part of a prisoner swap has attempted to return to militant activity, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the chairman of the Senate’s foreign relations subcommittee on Western Hemisphere affairs, today called on the Obama Administration to make clear to Congress the terms of agreement between the U.S. and foreign governments, particularly Uruguay, in regards to the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Rubio questions the measures put into place for a group of six Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred to Uruguay in December 2014, and calls on the administration to provide the details of the agreement between the State Department and the government of Uruguay.

“President Jose Mujica of Uruguay stated in December that the U.S. Department of State has sent him a letter indicating that the six men in question, one Palestinian, one Tunisian and four Syrians, who had been detained in Afghanistan and Pakistan - were not ‘involved in conducting or facilitating terrorist activities against the United States or its partners or its allies,’” Rubio wrote. “I find it difficult to believe that we would hold these six men as prisoners for over a decade if they did not pose a direct threat to the United States.

“In light of recent events, it is extremely important that members of Congress clearly understand the nature of the agreements that we have in place with foreign governments and specifically Uruguay as it relates to the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay,” added Rubio. “Please provide the written agreement between the U.S. Department of State and the government of Uruguay that identifies the persons to be transferred, their identified threat level, and what security measures that have been put into place to prevent their engaging in terrorism related activities. Also provide what procedures have been put into place to re-evaluate the security concerns as they relate to the Taliban detainees located in Qatar, and how this will affect other detainees that have been previously released to other countries.”

A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text is below:

January 30, 2015

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry,

As you are aware, recent media reports have indicated that one of the five Taliban detainees released from Guantanamo Bay in return for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in May 2014 has attempted to return to militant activity from his current location in Qatar. This is deeply disturbing because the Administration has released prisoners who are, and continue to be a direct threat to our national security. I am also concerned that the protocols that were established to prevent the former Guantanamo Bay detainees from re-engaging in terrorist-related activities were not followed or that those protocols were not sufficient enough to begin with.

This leads me to question what measures have been put into place for an additional group of six Guantanamo Bay detainees who were transferred to Uruguay in December of last year.

President Jose Mujica of Uruguay stated in December that the U.S. Department of State has sent him a letter indicating that the six men in question, one Palestinian, one Tunisian and four Syrians, who had been detained in Afghanistan and Pakistan - were not “involved in conducting or facilitating terrorist activities against the United States or its partners or its allies.”

I find it difficult to believe that we would hold these six men as prisoners for over a decade if they did not pose a direct threat to the United States.

In light of recent events, it is extremely important that members of Congress clearly understand the nature of the agreements that we have in place with foreign governments and specifically Uruguay as it relates to the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

Please provide the written agreement between the U.S. Department of State and the government of Uruguay that identifies the persons to be transferred, their identified threat level, and what security measures that have been put into place to prevent their engaging in terrorism related activities. Also provide what procedures have been put into place to re-evaluate the security concerns as they relate to the Taliban detainees located in Qatar, and how this will affect other detainees that have been previously released to other countries.

Again, I appreciate your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,