WASHINGTON, District of Columbia—Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Chairwoman of the House Armed Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, on Monday led a bipartisan Congressional fact-finding trip to Guantanamo Bay to tour the base and receive briefings on the missions being conducted at the facility.
“It was an honor to be able to lead this trip and to allow members to see, firsthand, the important mission our guardsmen are conducting at Guantanamo Bay,” Hartzler said. “Guantanamo plays an extremely important role in keeping Americans safe through the detention of enemy combatants in the war on terrorism. I am deeply appreciative of the professionalism the Joint Task Force personnel display, day-in and day-out, in carrying out their mission of safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detainees.”
Hartzler led the Congressional Delegation (CODEL) to provide Members of Congress, particularly freshmen, and professional staff from the House Armed Services Committee an opportunity to observe detention operations at Joint Task Force – Guantanamo (GTMO). The delegation observed camp operations, received a briefing from GTMO senior leaders about the mission and current operations, and received tours of active detention camps and support facilities.
“These enemy combatants represent the worst of the worst, planning, carrying out, or participating in attacks against Americans,” Hartzler continued. There are currently 41 detainees being held at GTMO, awaiting trial for their actions.
At different times since 9-11 there have been as many as 714 terrorists in detention at Guantanamo Bay. Many were transferred against strong objections from Members of Congress. “With almost 30 percent of those transferred confirmed or suspected of reengaging in the fight, it is imperative we keep these terrorists off the battlefield and ensure justice is served,” Hartzler concluded.
Joining Hartzler on the CODEL were Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Trent Kelly (R-Miss.), Stephen Knight (R-Calif.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Anthony Brown (D-Md.), Donald McEachin (D-Va.), Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), and Salud Carbajal (R-Calif.). This is Hartzler’s third CODEL trip to Guantanamo.
Hartzler represents Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.