The law already requires Obama to give Congress 30 days notice before releasing Guantanamo inmates. Other than the Bergdahl case, lawmakers say the White House has fulfilled that requirement. But the problem is, such notifications are secret and given only to a few selected committee chairs on Capitol Hill. The result is that there is no public discussion of the wisdom of a particular decision before it takes place.
“They are hiding behind the cloak of classification,” said Ayotte. “The president should give an accounting to the American people of what the people he is transferring out of Guantanamo did — why, if they were previously designated high risk, are they not a risk any more?”
There are 122 inmates left in Guantanamo. There is some dispute about how many are hard core terrorists who would undoubtedly return to the battlefield. Some say the number is around 50; Ayotte believes it is higher. There’s also a dispute about how many of those released already have resumed the fight, but there’s little doubt a troubling number have.
In any event, Congress will need to act fast. Obama is determined to move quickly, even as terrorism proliferates in the areas to which he will release more inmates in the future. It’s already happened this week, and each day could bring news of more releases.