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- March 3, 2016

OBAMA'S GITMO POLICY LEAVES THE COUNTRY WITH NOWHERE TO DETAIN HIGH LEVEL TERRORIST OPERATIVES

U.S. Special Operations Forces Just Captured A Significant ISIS Operative But Without The Ability To Detain, He Will Be Turned Over

U.S. Special Operations Forces In Iraq Captured A Significant ISIS Terrorist Operative. "An elite American Special Operations force has captured a significant Islamic State operative in Iraq and is expected to apprehend and interrogate a number of others in coming months, ushering in a new and potentially fraught phase in the fight against the extremist Sunni militant group. American defense officials described the capture as a crucial development in battling the Islamic State but said it also raised questions about handling what is likely to be a growing group of detainees." (Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and Michael Schmidt, "U.S. Captures ISIS Operative, Ushering In Tricky Phase,"The New York Times, 3/1/16)

Defense Officials Said The Detainee Was Being Interrogated At A Temporary Detention Facility And That "The Plan Was To Eventually Turn Him Over To Iraqi Or Kurdish Officials." "Officials said the detainee, whom they declined to identify, was being interrogated by American officials at a temporary detention facility in the city of Erbil in northern Iraq. They said the plan was to eventually turn him over to Iraqi or Kurdish officials." (Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and Michael Schmidt, "U.S. Captures ISIS Operative, Ushering In Tricky Phase,"The New York Times, 3/1/16)

  • Officials Said It Could Take Weeks Or Months To Finish Questioning. "Several Defense Department officials declined to say how much information or cooperation they have received from the detainee. They said it could take weeks or months to finish questioning the operative." (Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and Michael Schmidt, "U.S. Captures ISIS Operative, Ushering In Tricky Phase,"The New York Times, 3/1/16)

Officials Said They Had No Plans To Hold The Detainee Indefinitely Nor Establish A Long-Term American Facility To Hold ISIS Detainees Nor Use The Military Prison At Guantanamo Bay. "Defense Department officials said that the United States had no plans to hold the detainee or others indefinitely, and that they would be handed over to Iraqi or Kurdish authorities after they have been interviewed. The officials said they did not intend to establish a long-term American facility to hold Islamic State detainees, and Obama administration officials ruled out sending any to the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba." (Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and Michael Schmidt, "U.S. Captures ISIS Operative, Ushering In Tricky Phase,"The New York Times, 3/1/16)

Aki Peritz, A Former CIA Counterterrorism Analyst, Says The Inability To Detain Limits The "No. 1 Source" Of Intelligence Information. "'If you capture high-level people, what do you do with them, and all of the information that comes from them?' said Aki Peritz, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst… 'If we can create an intelligence-driven mission, that's great,' Peritz said. 'But we can't detain anybody, and that's the No. 1 source of information… 'A purely counterterrorism operation is not effective-unless you have the intel piece to back it up,' Peritz said." (Paul McLeary and Dan De Luce, "What Can 200 U.S. Commandos Actually Accomplish In Iraq," Foreign Policy , 1/22/16)

Without Being Able To Hold Detainees For Extended Periods, The Military "Will Likely Miss Out On Critical Information." "There are no plans for American forces to reopen detention centers in Iraq, a U.S. defense official told Foreign Policy. 'Interrogation details are still being worked out, but generally we'll only observe and the Iraqis will share' information, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. That means the new U.S. counterterrorism mission in Iraq will likely miss out on collecting critical pieces of information from detainees who might be more willing to talk after weeks or months behind bars." (Paul McLeary and Dan De Luce, "What Can 200 U.S. Commandos Actually Accomplish In Iraq," Foreign Policy , 1/22/16)

Clinton And Obama Want To Close Down Gitmo, Leaving The Country With No Other Place But U.S.-Based Facilities To Hold The Most Dangerous And Valuable Terrorists

The White House States That Captured ISIS Terrorists Will Not Be Transferred To GITMO. QUESTION: "So you can't say how many or if other additional ISIS fighters have been detained." WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: "Unfortunately I cannot. There may be additional guidance that the Department of Defense can share with you though." QUESTION: "Can you say where long term they are going to be held?" EARNEST: "Well I can rule out a couple of things. These individuals would not be transferred to the prison at Guantanamo Bay. There is no one that has been transferred to that prison during President Obama's seven years in office. Our goal is to close that prison. Adding to that population would be contradictory to our goal. I think what the Department of Defense will tell you is that they will have to make their own determinations about the best way to handle these individual cases. When it came to the case of Umm Sayyaf, the wife of the ISIL leader who was detained in that raid, she was turned over to Kurdish officials and she will be brought to justice in the Kurdish system." QUESTION: "So none of these individuals will be ever come to the United States?" EARNEST: "Again, you will have to check with the Department of Defense." ( White House Press Briefing, 3/2/16)

Click To Watch

Clinton Supports Obama's February 2016 Plan To Close Guantanamo Bay Prison And Bring The Detainees To The United States. "Hillary Clinton is supporting President Obama's plan for closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, saying the move would 'be a sign of strength and resolve.' 'I support President Obama's plan today to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and finally close the door on this chapter of our history,' she said in a Tuesday statement. 'Over the years, Guantanamo has inspired more terrorists than it has imprisoned. It has not strengthened our national security; it has damaged it.' …The Obama administration's plan would move detainees eligible for transfer to other countries. Other detainees would face prosecution. But the plans also call for moving between 30 to 60 detainees not eligible for those options to the United States." (Ben Kamisar, "Clinton Backs Obama's Gitmo Plan," The Hill, 2/23/16)

  • The Hill Headline: "Clinton Backs Obama's Gitmo Plan" (Ben Kamisar, "Clinton Backs Obama's Gitmo Plan," The Hill, 2/23/16)

This Isn't The First Time Clinton And Obama's Misguided Effort To Close Gitmo Has Caused Problems In The Fight Against ISIS

The Capture Of Umm Sayyaf The Wife Of A Prominent ISIS Operative Provided Useful Intelligence But Also Proved To Be A Legal And Diplomatic Conundrum. "Umm Sayyaf's interrogation may have provided useful intelligence. But her case has proved to be a legal and diplomatic conundrum for the U.S." (Nancy Youssef and Shane Harris, "U.S. Captures First ISIS Fighter. Now The Interrogation Begins." The Daily Beast, 3/1/16)

The Sayyaf Case Points To One "Achilles Heel" Of Obama's Current Plan To Fight ISIS: The Need For Detention Facilities. "[T]he aftermath of the raid that nabbed Umm Sayyaf also pointed to one potential Achilles heel in Washington's plan: the need for detention facilities. The U.S. military shuttered all of its American-run prisons in Iraq before it left at the end of 2011, and without a place to continue holding Umm Sayyaf, U.S. officials were forced to turn her over to Kurdish authorities last August." (Paul McLeary and Dan De Luce, "What Can 200 U.S. Commandos Actually Accomplish In Iraq," Foreign Policy , 1/22/16)

In May 2015, Sayyaf Was Captured And Intelligence From Her Detention Led To New Raids. "In May 2015, a raid on the Syrian compound of Abu Sayyaf, the nom de guerre for the ISIS operative who oversaw the group's gas and oil operations, ended with his death and the capture of his wife, an Iraqi known as Umm Sayyaf. She was interrogated by U.S. authorities and provided valuable intelligence about ISIS's inner workings, U.S. officials told The Daily Beast. In fact, Umm Sayyaf yielded so much intelligence that her interrogations led to renewed efforts to conduct more interrogations rather than just depend on airstrikes to defeat the terror group." (Nancy Youssef and Shane Harris, "U.S. Captures First ISIS Fighter. Now The Interrogation Begins." The Daily Beast, 3/1/16)

  • The Raid And Subsequent Interrogations Of Sayyaf Yielded Information That Led To The First Major Coalition Assault On The Heart Of ISIS's Finances. "The raid and subsequent interrogations yielded information that helped the U.S.-led coalition launch assaults on ISIS's network of illicit oil sales, the first major assault on the heart of ISIS's finances. Earlier this year, the coalition also struck three buildings in the Iraqi city of Mosul that housed an estimated $750 million of ISIS funds." (Nancy Youssef and Shane Harris, "U.S. Captures First ISIS Fighter. Now The Interrogation Begins." The Daily Beast, 3/1/16)

After Sayyaf Was Handed Over To Kurdish Authorities, Both The United States And The Kurdish Regional Government Are Unsure What To Do And Are Pointing The Finger At The Other. "Mark Alsalih, a Sunni lobbyist in Washington and the president of the Iraq Stability and Security Program who has close ties to Iraqi officials, told The Daily Beast that Iraqi Kurdish officials have said it's up to the Americans what to do with Umm Sayyaf, and they're waiting for some direction. For the Kurds, the case against Umm Sayyaf isn't as simple as prosecuting the ISIS widow for the abuse of the two Yazidis. "The case also involves the death of Kayla Mueller," Alsalih said. The result is that both sides, the U.S. and the Kurdish Regional Government, seem to be pointing the finger at the other, unsure of what to do, and uncertain of what the other is willing to do." (Nancy Youssef and Shane Harris, "U.S. Captures First ISIS Fighter. Now The Interrogation Begins." The Daily Beast, 3/1/16)

  • Sayyaf Cannot Be Extradited To The U.S. To Face Trial Because Iraq Has A Constitutional Prohibition On Surrendering Iraqi Citizens To Foreign Authorities. "Iraq's own legal system made extraditing Umm Sayyaf difficult if not impossible, said one senior administration official. 'We discussed the idea of her surrender and extradition to the U.S. with senior-level [government of Iraq] officials, but ultimately that option was not available as Iraq has a constitutional prohibition on surrendering Iraqi citizens to foreign authorities,' the official said." (Shane Harris and Nancy Youssef, "Will The ISIS Widow Pay The Ultimate Price?" The Daily Beast, 8/18/15)

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