The repercussions from President Obama’s decision not to notify Congress 30 days before the release of 5 senior Taliban commanders, a violation of federal law, in exchange for Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is continuing with congresswoman Marsha Blackburn(R-TN) and congressman Frank Wolf(R-VA) introducing legislation in the House of Representatives, the PROTECT Act, that would make permanent the ban on the transfer of terrorist detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into the United States.
Because of President Obama’s willful and intentional violation of the rules pertaining to the transfer of Gitmo terrorist detainees in the Bergdahl deal Representatives Blackburn and Wolf have included in their legislation a penalty provision that would make a violation of the PROTECT Acts ban on the transfer of Gitmo terrorist into the U.S. punishable by a fine and up to five years in federal prison.
Following the federal governments purchase of the Thomson Correctional Facility in Carroll County for $165 million the fear by many Illinois residents has been that the Thomson Prison would be used by the Obama administration to house Gitmo terrorist like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should President Obama ever follow through on his 2008 campaign pledge to close the military prison at Guantanamo. In recent weeks a Senate committee and the full House have passed nearly $60 million in funding to remodel and set the stages for the opening of Thomson Prison.
In a press release congresswoman Blackburn said, “This past weekend an Administration official said that Guantanamo detainees should be brought to the United States ‘for detention and trial and prosecution.’…I will not accept President Obama bringing terrorists to the United States to be read their Miranda rights.” Blackburn continued, “The Bergdahl swap involving the transfer of five senior Taliban detainees to a beach resort in Qatar was not only illegal, it put a bounty on the head of every brave man and woman serving our country overseas. Housing terrorists on American soil would put communities at risk and cost hard working taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. My bill will prevent Guantanamo detainees or any other foreign terrorists who take up arms against the United States from being transferred to American soil. President Obama may have taught law, but he doesn’t seem to know much about following it. Any person who violates this Act will face up to five years in prison. It is time to put a stop to the lawlessness of this Administration.”
“The detention center at Guantanamo Bay was created to house enemy combatants picked up in the War on Terror. The detainees at Guantanamo were not arrested in the United States; they are terrorists who want to kill Americans. Bringing them to the U.S. would provide them with constitutional protections that they are not entitled to,” said Rep Wolf. “It also brings a new risk for those who can’t be tried, opening a precedent for indefinite detention on U.S. soil.”
Debra Burlingame of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America has announced her support of Blackburn and Wolf’s bill saying, “For years now, 9/11 families have watched in shock and dismay as Obama administration officials express their commitment to bringing harden terrorists, some of whom are known war criminals, onto U.S. soil. The American people and Congress—on a bi-partisan basis—have made it abundantly clear that they do not want detainees at Guantanamo Bay, or those captured overseas, brought to the U.S. Homeland. We are deeply grateful to Representatives Blackburn and Wolf for sponsoring legislation, which forecloses this as an option and creates criminal sanctions for those who bypass Congress and violate this rule of law.”
The full text of the PROTECT Act can be found, here.