Prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay have killed Americans, a senior Defense Department official reported to lawmakers this week.
According to the Associated Press, Paul Lewis, the Pentagon’s special envoy for Guantanamo detention closure, was speaking to the Republican-majority House Foreign Affairs Committee. He didn’t say if the killings happened before or after President Obama took office.
"What I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of (Guantanamo) detainees," Lewis said during an exchange with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.
"When anybody dies, it is tragedy and we don't want anybody to die because we transfer detainees," Lewis said.
An Obama administration official told the Associated Press anonymously that Lewis was referring to an Afghan prisoner who was released from Guantanamo while George W. Bush was president.
Under the Bush administration, 532 prisoners were released from Guantanamo. Under the Obama administration, only 144 prisoners have been released.
Obama sent a plan to Capitol Hill last month for closing down the prison.
"There are unfortunately going to be acts of terrorism, probably whether the facility is opened or closed," said Lee Wolosky, the State Department’s special envoy for Guantanamo closure. "The proper analysis is, 'What are the risks of keeping it open in light of the very obvious use of that facility as a propaganda tool,' which, frankly, you should not have to question."
Republicans are against Obama’s proposal because they say there needs to be a place to hold terrorist suspects.
Currently, there are 91 prisoners at Guantanamo. There were 250 when Obama took office in 2009.
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Publication date: March 24, 2016