Schock Successful in Banning Funds to Transfer Terrorists to Illinois
House approves ban to ensure no federal funding goes toward the transfer of detainees to the U.S.
May 26, 2011 -
Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) was successful today with ensuring that no federal funds are used in the transfer or release of terrorists detainees inside the United States from any location outside the U.S. including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This ban on federal funding was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 that successfully passed the House today.
"This issue is about the security of the American people,” said Schock. "Today, the House hammered in the final nail to completely ban any federal funding from being used to house and/or transfer terrorists detainees to the United States. The President’s threat to veto the entire bill because of this provision to ban funding shows how out of touch he is with the concerns people have with bringing terrorists into the backyards of communities across this country and that includes Illinois.”
Schock has been a tough and outspoken critic of the Obama Administrations efforts to bring terrorists detainees to Illinois, and the United States, for civilian trial and detention. In January, Schock, introduced legislation to block the expenditure of federal funds to move suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere abroad into the United States. When announcing the introduction of his legislation, Schock made the point that “the United States has a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art facility, including court rooms, in Guantanamo Bay, where enemy combatants captured on the battlefield should be held, tried, and brought to justice.” Joining Congressman Schock in this effort is his senate counterpart, Senator Mark Kirk, who introduced identical legislation.
“I have seen in person the state-of-the-art facilities at Guantanamo Bay. Those facilities are wisely designed to safely detain and put on trial the worst of the worst and most dangerous terrorists in the world. The security that Guantanamo Bay offers cannot be duplicated in the United States,” continued Schock. “Our U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is exceptionally well defended. It is on hills high above the ocean on three sides, with the other side an already highly fortified border between the U.S. and Cuba. Combine that with extremely well designed facilities and you have the closest thing to impenetrable security possible. Outside of an unnecessary risk, nothing is gained by spending taxpayer money to transfer any of these individuals to the United States.”
In March, President Obama reversed his own ban on military tribunal’s at the United States military installation in Guantanamo Bay. "Most important of all, the purpose of military tribunals are to conduct fair trials based on evidence, but with careful safeguards for introducing highly classified evidence that can be used to convict terrorists, but still be kept secret,” said Schock. “Our civilian system has loopholes that terrorists and enemy combatants can use to have charges dismissed, especially when our intelligence agencies cannot divulge intelligence information, because it would simultaneously disclose sources and methods, thus ending their effectiveness." The life sentence received by Ahmed Ghailani, the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to face a civilian trial in the US, has raised debate on whether or not our civilian court system is the appropriate place. He was acquitted of over 200 counts of murder and only found guilty on a charge of conspiracy to destroy federal property in connection with the bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
In December the White House attempted to insert a last minute provision into the Defense Authorization bill giving the Administration power to transfer terrorist detainees to Thomson prison in Illinois. Senator Kirk and Congressman Schock were successful at preventing this provision from going forward. If allowed, the transfer of these detainees would be from not only Guantanamo Bay, but also locations like Bagram, Afghanistan, as well as other locations around the globe, where they would be brought, in many cases, directly from the battlefield to the United States. The inclusion of the Schock legislation prevents the hundreds of terrorists held at military prisons on bases abroad from coming to the United States.
“The added expense of using federal resources needed to provide security and protection while housing and putting a detainee on trial is simply an unnecessary cost right now,” said Schock. “The bottom line is that for safety and security, we should not be importing terrorists from the battlefield or from Guantanamo Bay to an American prison.”