Washington, D.C. – In a letter today to Attorney General Eric Holder, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) urged the Justice Department to appeal a ruling that may order the release of Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi.

As the letter states, Slahi was considered by Pentagon officials to be the “highest value detainee at the facility” and that he was the “key orchestrator of the al Qaeda cell in Europe.” 

Ranking Member Smith: “It is certainly possible, if not likely, that Mr. Slahi will reengage in efforts to commit terrorist attacks against innocent Americans if allowed to go free.  This ruling clearly puts the American people in danger and should not be allowed to stand.

“The primary responsibility of any Administration is to protect the American people.  As such, the Justice Department has no choice but to immediately appeal this ruling.  Any other action is a dereliction of duty and puts the American people at risk.” 

According to media reports, on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson granted Slahi’s habeas petition, meaning the Judge agreed that he was being held without just cause. Ranking Member Smith requested a full briefing and a copy of the Judge’s classified opinion.