Advancing a Free Society

Briefing Paper on Guantanamo Transfers to Yemen

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

At this hour, I am participating in a briefing for the House Armed Service Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations concerning transfers of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen. Brookings has posted my written statement, which I prepared with Bobby and Matthew Waxman of Columbia Law School. The full text reads as follows:

Thank you for the opportunity to brief the subcommittee on the problem of transfers of Yemeni detainees from Guantánamo Bay. Yemeni transfers have, since the Christmas Day bombing attempt and the rise of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, become an area of considerable political rancor. The rancor is, in our judgment, unwarranted. As we shall explain, transfer policy towards Yemen has been a matter of institutional continuity between administrations, a matter in which policymakers face no good options, and a matter in which there is currently no dispute between the political parties. To put the matter simply, both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration have been appropriately cautious about transferring detainees to Yemen. Republicans and Democrats and Congress and the administration all agree that conditions in Yemen will not permit the transfer of detainees to that country at this time. There are many aspects of detention policy that are genuinely in dispute. This is not one of them.

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