Senators Gardner, Roberts and Scott: DOD Illegally Spent Funds Studying GTMO Relocation Sites

New DoD Document Highlights Illegal Spending on Surveys

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Tim Scott (R-SC) today said the Department of Defense (DoD) spent federal funds studying sites in Colorado, Kansas, and South Carolina to relocate prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) despite specific prohibitions of such spending in the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Obama. The DoD spent the most money - $11,064.33 - surveying the facility in Florence, CO as a possible relocation site.  


The National Defense Authorization Act signed into law (Public Law 114-92) in November, 2015, specifically prohibits any funds “to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release to or within the United States” of Guantanamo Bay detainees and any funds “to construct or modify any facility in the United States, its territories, or possessions to house any individual detained at Guantanamo.” Nearly one year ago, Gardner sent a letter to President Obama asking for clarification under what legal authority the Administration is conducting the assessments to move detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Colorado. 

“The Obama Administration’s use of federal funds to survey potential relocation sites for Guantanamo Bay detainees is in direct contradiction to current law. This represents a blatant abuse of power and disregard for a law that President Obama himself signed,” said Gardner. “Nearly one year ago, I wrote President Obama asking what legal basis he has for transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the United States and how the Administration can legally spend money to send a scouting team to Colorado, and have yet to receive a response. I will pursue all potential options available to hold the Administration accountable for its illegal action, and continue to work to ensure that the terrorists in Guantanamo Bay stay in Cuba and out of our backyards.”


Senators Gardner, Roberts, and Scott have been outspoken opponents of President Obama’s intentions to close Guantanamo Bay. They have stated concerns with the recidivism rate among released detainees, the hundreds of millions of dollars it will cost to construct a new facility, and the fact that opening domestic facility would place a “bullseye” for acts of terror on an American community. 


Gardner has worked to find legislative solutions to block the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States. In May, he introduced an amendment to the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act that would prohibit the use of funds to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the United States using our airspace.  Gardner also introduced legislation that would prevent the transfer or release of Guantanamo Bay detainees to global terror havens, including all countries designated by the United States Department of State as state sponsors of terrorism, currently Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Current U.S. law already prohibits transfers to Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Syria, but not to Iran and Sudan, where 14 detainees have been transferred over the past decade.


In March, Gardner introduced a resolution formally rejecting President Obama’s plan to transfer prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities to an alternate location in American communities, which is explicitly prohibited by law.  Gardner is also a cosponsor of the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Protection Act, a bill that stops the President from terminating or modifying the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay’s lease without Congressional approval. 


Gardner continues to meet with Coloradans and local law enforcement across the state who are opposed to moving terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to not only Colorado, but anywhere in the United States. Earlier this year, Gardner hosted a town hall in Florence, Colorado focused on national security issues that was attended by local elected officials, including members of the law enforcement community, and other local leaders to discuss issues including the potential transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Colorado and the growing instability in the Middle East. Gardner discussed his visit to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and reiterated his opposition to the transfer of the detainees to American soil.


# # #