Detention & Guantanamo

The Senate NDAA Bill - No Restriction on GTMO Transfers to U.S.?

By Wells Bennett
Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 6:44 PM

Apropos of the amendment proposed by Senator Feinstein and others, and tonight’s NDAA discussion in the Senate, here’s a quick review of S. 3254, the NDAA 2013 bill that the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved earlier this year.

The bill’s “Counterterrorism” subtitle contains only one provision, Section 1031.  This preserves two GTMO-relevant restrictions from the NDAA 2012 that were set to expire at year’s end.  First, by adding in the phrase “or 2013,” the SASC proposal would preclude the expenditure of next year’s funds on building or modifying facilities to house Guantanamo detainees in the United States.  Through an identical adjustment, S. 3254 also would block the executive branch from spending FY2013 money on transferring detainees from Guantanamo to other countries---that is, unless it can satisfy the NDAA 2012’s rigorous certification procedures.

Oddly, the Senate’s approach seemingly would allow another of the NDAA’s key funding restrictions to lapse:  S.3254 pointedly does not update the NDAA prohibition on the use of FY2012 funds to transfer or release Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other Guantanamo detainees into the United States (NDAA 2012 Section 1027).  The House bill, of course, contains a no-transfers-to-the-U.S. restriction for FY2013.