Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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Rep. Paul Cook Issues Statement on Release of Guantanamo Detainees

Apr 5, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) issued the following statement on the release of two Guantanamo Bay detainees to Senegal:

"Today, the Obama Administration released two dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to Senegal. These two members of Al Qaeda are explosives experts and continue to threaten to kill Americans and attack U.S. facilities wherever they can. One detainee is a former associate of the most senior members of Al Qaeda. According to our intelligence agencies, the other detainee, Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar, is ‘likely to immediately seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities’ upon his release. These are dangerous men, the ‘worst of the worst,’ and our government should be keeping them behind razor wire where they belong.

This sort of reckless action is why I voted to keep Guantanamo Bay open. It’s clear that the President is trying to make good on a campaign pledge, even if that means putting Americans at risk by releasing known terrorists. The Defense Department has assessed the risk of releasing these detainees as ‘HIGH risk…likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies.’ We'll never defeat terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS if we continue to let their most dangerous members go free after we capture them. This policy of releasing dangerous terrorists must stop and I'll continue to oppose the administration’s efforts to close Guantanamo Bay and put Americans at risk.”

A member of the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Natural Resources Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.