|Wittman Amendment Passes, Requiring Study on Insurgents Released from Afghanistan Prison|
WASHINGTON, DC – A measure authored by Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, passed the House Armed Services Committee early this morning during consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense policy bill. Wittman offered an amendment requiring the Secretary of Defense to issue a report to Congress that assesses the rates and causes of reengagement in combat operations against coalition forces by former detainees at the Detention Facility at Parwan, Afghanistan who are transferred or released. The report would also include the rationale of the Commander of International Security Assistance Force as to the release of these prisoners.
Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported that the United States “has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups.”
“It is absolutely critical that the Pentagon and Congress fully understand the factors that influence freed enemy combatants to reengage in combat operations with coalition forces in Afghanistan,” Wittman said. “In light of recent reports that detainees have been released through negotiations with this Administration, I believe recidivism rates and causes must be thoroughly explored in order to responsibly engage in both military and diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan. At the same time, it is essential for members of Congress and the public to understand the rationale behind releasing these detainees from the facility at Parwan.”
In his role as chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Wittman led the effort earlier this year in preparing a report which explored recidivism rates for detainees who have been transferred out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The report found that at least 27% of individuals released by the U.S. military have been confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities.
H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, will be considered by the full House of Representatives next week.
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee where he is the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.