Byron York | Bergdahl fiasco a reminder more Gitmo battles lie ahead

Byron York, Washington Examiner:

The Bowe Bergdahl debacle — trading five senior Taliban commanders for one American prisoner now charged with desertion — has its roots in President Obama’s determination to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay. If the president’s past is any guide, there will be more Gitmo-related fiascos in the future.

Obama has exhibited an unmistakable pattern of behavior in recent years: When Congress fails to do what he wants, he does it himself, or threatens to.

When it comes to Guantanamo, a growing number of lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Congress is more determined than ever to keep the prison facility open. In coming months they are likely to strengthen current restrictions on Obama’s ability to release inmates. Those restrictions will run head-on into the president’s resolve to close Guantanamo — and his penchant for unilateral executive action. The result could be ugly.

Obama is already forbidden by law from transferring Guantanamo inmates to the United States or building a facility to house them here. A new bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and co-sponsored by 26 other GOP senators would also prevent Obama from transferring risky detainees to any other country for the next two years. It would make it harder to carry through any releases at all, and it would specifically ban releases to the country of Yemen for the next two years.


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