U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released a statement Friday criticizing a decision announced by the Department of Defense (DOD) to release Guantanamo detainee Mahmoud Abd al-Aziz al-Mujahid.
Mujahid served as Osama bin Laden's body guard and was a member of a group of al-Qaida fighters called "Dirty 30." He was captured by the U.S. in 2001 and arrived in the American military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on Jan. 11, 2002.
"We remain seriously concerned that this Administration seems to be basing its terrorist detention decisions more on a misguided promise to close Guantanamo than on our national security interests," said Chambliss in a joint statement with Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "After at least three previous reviews, Mahmoud Abd al-Aziz al Mujahid, who reportedly was tied to Osama bin Laden and trained in al Qaeda camps, was determined to be too dangerous to transfer. The Administration owes the American people a justifiable explanation as to why they continue to release, or clear for release, from Guantanamo Bay terrorists who have sought to harm and kill Americans."
The promise to close Guantanamo was one of Barack Obama's main talking points when he was running for president in 2008.
77 of 155 Guantanamo inmates have been cleared for release by a review board so far. A review of another 70 will take place this year.
One of the cleared Guantanamo prisoners is believed to have been a part of the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks that claimed four American lives.
Mahmoud Abd al-Aziz al-Mujahid is 33 years old.