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Category Archives: Guantanamo: Transfers and Resettlement

Administration Response to GAO Report on Bergdahl

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Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Here’s the government’s response to the GAO report, to which Wells linked yesterday, concluding that the Bergdahl trade violated the law. A statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby reads: As Secretary Hagel has testified before Congress, the recovery of SGT Bergdahl was conducted lawfully. This decision was made after consultation with the Department . . .
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GAO: Defense Department Violated Law In Bergdahl-GTMO Detainee Swap

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Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 4:05 PM

So concludes this report from the Government Accountability Office, which apparently was written in response to a request by various Senators.  The document opens: This responds to your June 13, 2014, request for our opinion on whether the Department of Defense (DOD) incurred obligations in violation of section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 . . .
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Global (Statutory) Habeas After Aamer

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 4:00 PM

As my co-authors and I put the finishing touches on the 2014-15 Supplement to Aspen Publishers’ National Security Law and Counterterrorism Law casebooks, I had another thought about the potential consequences of the D.C. Circuit’s February 2014 decision in Aamer v. Obama—about which I’ve blogged a fair amount previously. Recall that, in Aamer, the D.C. Circuit held that the Supreme Court’s decision . . .
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The Obviously Unconstitutional Cotton Amendment

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Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Among the proposed amendments to the DOD appropriations bill currently under consideration in the House of Representatives is this doozy, courtesy of Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton: None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to transfer or release any individual detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, . . .
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Two Legal Takeaways from Yesterday’s HASC Hearing

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Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 9:19 AM

Yesterday’s HASC Committee Hearing (video here) on the Bergdahl swap was pretty eventful.  At least two important legal issues were discussed: the legality of not notifying Congress about the swap, and the legal consequences of the end of the Afghan conflict.  The first has received the most attention, but the administration arguably made some underappreciated news . . .
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The Bergdahl Swap: Who Kicked Off the “Political Football” Game?

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Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10:23 AM

President Obama complained yesterday that Sergeant Bergdahl is “not a political football.”   That should be true, but unfortunately President Obama is responsible for kicking off the football game by announcing the Taliban-Bergdahl swap in a Rose Garden appearance, rather than leaving the announcement to Secretary Hagel and Chairman Dempsey.  The White House should not be . . .
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Vice-President Cheney’s Funny Criticism of President Obama for Not Complying with the GTMO Notice Requirement

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 4:46 PM

I laughed when I heard former Vice-President Cheney on the Laura Ingraham show (approximately the 8:15-9:10 mark) criticizing President Obama for not notifying Congress under Section 1035 of the 2014 NDAA about the Bergdahl swap.  Ingraham complained about the failure of members of Congress to stand up to “the flouting of American law,” including the “failure . . .
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The Administration’s New (and Unconvincing) Reading of the Notice Requirement for GTMO transfers

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 11:04 AM

The Obama Administration has backed away from its suggestions over the weekend that it failed to comply with the notice requirement in Section 1035 of the 2014 NDAA on constitutional grounds.  It is now claiming, as Marty Lederman notes, that it complied with the statute because it determined “that the notification requirement should be construed not to . . .
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One or Two Other Statutes the President Likely Disregarded in The Bergdahl Deal [UPDATED]

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Monday, June 2, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Earlier today I explained why the President almost certainly disregarded Section 1035 of the 2014 NDAA when he swapped the GTMO detainees for Bergdahl.  The President probably disregarded another statute as well, Section 8111 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provides: None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may . . .
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Thoughts on the Bergdahl-for-Taliban Trade

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Monday, June 2, 2014 at 4:30 PM

What do you give up to get back one of your own? Talk about a hard national security choice. The decision to trade five senior Taliban detainees at Guantanamo for Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl has it all. I don’t envy the people who had to make this decision. The United States is not Israel—a fierce . . .
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The President Pretty Clearly Disregarded a Congressional Statute in Swapping GTMO Detainees for Bergdahl

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Monday, June 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Marty Lederman tries mightily to interpret Bergdahl’s release as consistent* not inconsistent with the wishes of Congress, but I don’t think he succeeds. Section 1035 of the 2014 NDAA authorizes the Defense Secretary to “transfer or release any individual detained at Guantanamo” if he makes certain certain determinations, and it further requires without exception that the . . .
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Who Was Bowe Bergdahl?

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Monday, June 2, 2014 at 7:13 AM

Fascinating article in the Daily Beast from Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served with him: It was June 30, 2009, and I was in the city of Sharana, the capitol of Paktika province in Afghanistan. As I stepped out of a decrepit office building into a perfect sunny day, a member of my team started talking . . .
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Released Taliban Detainees: Not So “Innocent” After All?

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Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:28 AM

Today’s Washington Post contains an interesting article about the backgrounds of the five released Taliban detainees entitled “Freed prisoners were battle-hardened Taliban commanders.” According to the Post, “One of the freed men was the head of the Taliban’s army. Another arranged for al-Qaeda trainers to visit Afghanistan. Another has been implicated by the United Nations . . .
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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Freed in Exchange for Transfer of Five GTMO Detainees

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Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Some wonderful (and quite NDAA-relevant) news, here reported by Talking Points Memo:  WASHINGTON (AP) — The only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed and is back in U.S. custody after nearly five years of captivity, U.S. officials said Saturday. The officials said the Taliban agreed to turn over Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for . . .
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PRB Recommends Another Guantanamo Transfer

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Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Not sure how I missed this, but a Periodic Review Board has recommended the transfer to Yemen of Guantanamo detainee Ali Ahmad Al-Razihi. The summary of its findings reports that the board found Al-Razihi’s assurances credible and that he comes from a well-established family capable of supporting him in a relatively stable part of Yemen. The . . .
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Periodic Review Board Hearing Today

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Today an interagency review panel will hear, by video hookup, the case of Guantanamo detainee Ali Ahmad al-Razihi.  The issue is whether the Yemeni’s further detention is necessary to protect a continuing, significant security threat to the United States. Lawfare won’t be in the house today—but, judging by past reviews, the hearing’s open session likely will . . .
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Ahmed Belbacha Transferred from GTMO to Algeria

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Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 8:47 AM

So we learn from this statement, released earlier this morning by the Department of Defense: The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Ahmed Belbacha from the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay to the Government of Algeria. As directed by the President’s Jan. 22, 2009, Executive Order, the interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force conducted . . .
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Guantanamo’s War

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Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 7:11 AM

In the past decade, the word “Guantanamo” has come to represent far more than the Cuban bay that lent its name to one of America’s oldest military bases more than a century ago; it has joined our 21st century lexicon as a term emblematic of abuse, overreach, and disregard for the rule of law.  In . . .
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Oral Argument Preview: Al Laithi v. Rumsfeld (Detainee Abuse Case)

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Friday, February 21, 2014 at 6:23 AM

Today D.C. Circuit Judges David Tatel, Janice Rogers Brown, and A. Raymond Randolph will hear oral arguments in Al Laithi v. Rumsfeld. Six former Guantanamo detainees will be arguing that Chief Judge Lamberth erred in dismissing their claims, brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), Bivens, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Federal Civil Rights Act. In the wake . . .
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Josh Gerstein on Piracy and Terrorism Trials

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Monday, February 10, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Over at Politico, Josh Gerstein has an interesting piece on the Ali piracy case, and its potential implications for terrorism cases.  The article—which quotes Jen Daskal and Cully Stimson, among others—opens: The failed prosecution of an alleged Somali pirate — and the fact that that failure could leave him living freely, and permanently, inside U.S. borders — . . .
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