Senate Armed Services Committee Approves S.165, The Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act of 2015

Washington, D.C. ­– This afternoon, the Senate Armed Services Committee marked up S.165, the Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act of 2015, a bill sponsored by Senator Kelly Ayotte. The bill extends and enhances prohibitions and limitations with respect to the transfer or release of individuals detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The bill’s original text is available here.

The full committee approved the bill on a 14-12 vote.

 

Bill Summary

  • Section 2:  Extends for two years the Prohibition on Construction or Modification of Facilities in the U.S. to house Guantanamo detainees.
  • Section 3:  Extends for two years the Prohibition on Transfers to the U.S. of current Guantanamo detainees. New detainees could be placed at Guantanamo and later transferred to the U.S.
  • Section 4:  Suspends for two years International Transfers of detainees who have been assessed as a High or Medium Risk to the U.S., our interests, and our allies.
  • Section 5:  Prohibits for two years transfers to Yemen.
  • Section 6:  Repeals current international transfer provisions and would allow the international transfer of low risk detainees under the requirements of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.  It preserves the administration’s ability to waive the requirements if it is in the national security interest of the U.S.
  • Section 7:  Increases transparency for the American people by requiring an unclassified report from the Secretary of Defense providing details about the previous terrorist activities of detainees who remain at Guantanamo.    

 

Amendments

  • Senator Kaine’s amendment codifies the lawful procedures already in place to ensure that detainees are treated humanely.
  • Senator McCaskill’s amendment further promotes transparency by requiring a report about the use of Department of Defense facilities, including Guantanamo Bay, and Bureau of Prisons facilities as terrorist propaganda tools.  It also requires the report to explain whether this propaganda is effective and what the administration is doing to counter it.

Senator Reed’s amendment will allow the temporary transfer of a detainee to a Department of Defense facility in the United States for emergency or critical medical treatment if it is necessary.