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Bishop seeks restrictions for Gitmo

WASHINGTON — Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, joined Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee in introducing legislation Thursday designed to restrict President Barack Obama's ability to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees back to countries that harbor terrorists.

Committee ranking Republican Buck McKeon of California said he and other committee Republicans introduced the bill a day before a deadline Obama set last year to shut down the detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay, to ensure detainees are not released to places where they easily could rejoin terrorist groups.

The bill requires the president to certify before transferring a detainee to a foreign country that the country is not a state sponsor of terrorism, can control its own territory, has no areas that serve as a safe haven for terrorist groups and has no previously released detainees who have returned to terrorist activities.

Bishop said, "This legislation provides a necessary safeguard to help ensure that the United States … is in no way assisting terrorist and insurgents groups' capabilities to recruit operatives."

He added, "This bill will bolster national security and make certain that the Obama administration's current policy allowing for the transfer and release of some detainees back to countries known to be harboring terrorists or terrorist training camps is stopped."

McKeon said, "The rising recidivism rates of former Guantanamo detainees demonstrate the need to change course."

This story was reported from Salt Lake City.