Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) wants to know whether the U.S. Department of Defense violated federal law by spending federal monies "surveying potential sites in three states for the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees."
According to a letter sent by Scott and fellow U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), those expenditures may have violated the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and thus the Antideficiency Act. That letter was sent to Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
"As was widely reported, the DoD spent federal funds studying sites in Colorado, Kansas, and South Carolina to relocate prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay despite specific prohibitions in law," according to the letter. "These expenditures were made in contravention of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016, which prohibits the use of any funds to assist in the transfer of any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay to the United States as well as the use of any funds to prepare any facility in the United States to house any Guantanamo detainee. Pub. L. No. 114-92, §§ 1031-1032, 129 Stat. 735, 968 (2015)."
The letter continues, "Moreover, Sections 527 and 528 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, reinforce the prohibitions set forth in the fiscal 2016 NDAA. Specifically, Section 527 prohibits the DoD from using appropriated funds “to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release to or within the United States . . . [any Guantanamo Bay detainee],” and Section 528 prohibits the DoD from using appropriated funds “to construct, acquire, or modify any facility in the United States . . . to house any . . . [detainee].” Pub. L. No. 114-113, 129 Stat. 2242, 2329 (2015). The meaning of Sections 527 and 528 is clear and unambiguous; no appropriated funds are legally available for the relocation of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States."
Scott has been a vocal opponent of reports that the Consolidated Naval Brig in Hanahan, SC is one of the sites being considered by the Obama Administration for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. mainland.
In an interview with Palmetto Business Daily last week, West Point grad and Army veteran Doug Truax, founder of the national security-oriented Restoration PAC, warned against the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
"Obama's stubborn ideological crusade to close Gitmo should concern all Americans," said Truax. "A significant percentage of the most dangerous terrorists in the world already have been returned to the battlefield and others could be moved to states like South Carolina. Nobody is in favor of this foolish policy except Obama and his hard-left allies."