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GOP decries possible Taliban release from Guantanamo

Feb. 3, 2012 at 1:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A proposal to release senior Taliban from U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has drawn sharp rebuke from several congressional Republicans.

The Obama administration proposal -- still in its infancy but revealed during congressional testimony this week -- would release the Taliban figures and relocate them as part of an effort to explore peace talks with the terrorist group, CNN reported Friday.

Officials said discussions about releasing the detainees were very preliminary and hinged on the Taliban renouncing terrorism and agreeing to peace talks.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Thursday the United States was "crossing a dangerous line" by discussing the possibility.

In a letter to President Obama, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a former Marine officer who served in Afghanistan, said the release sent the wrong message, CNN reported.

"Releasing prisoners strictly for the purpose of accelerating negotiations undermines the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and deliberately ignores the threat of a Taliban resurgence," Hunter wrote.

Administration officials said none of the people being considered for release was involved in killing Americans, and any proposed transfer would be done in consultation with Congress, CNN said.

James Clapper, national intelligence director, told the Senate Intelligence Committee this week such transfers, although controversial, weren't breaking new ground when trying to end a war.

"In almost every case where we've had hostilities, that at some point in time, there are negotiations. I don't think anyone in the administration harbors any illusions about the potential here," Clapper said.

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