Re­port: Gitmo trans­fers re­turn to ter­ror­ism

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitic­s - BY BILL GERTZ

Nearly one in four ter­ror­ists re­leased from the de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity at U.S. Naval Base Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba, re­sumed ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties against the United States and the num­ber is ex­pected to rise, ac­cord­ing to a re­port to Congress by the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence (DNI).

The re­port, made pub­lic Dec. 7, stated that out of a to­tal of 598 de­tainees re­leased as of Oc­to­ber, 150 were con­firmed or sus­pected of “reen­gag­ing in ter­ror­ist or in­sur­gent ac­tiv­i­ties af­ter trans­fer,” the two-page un­clas­si­fied sum­mary said.

The re­port’s find­ings prompted a harsh re­sponse from Sen. Christo­pher S. Bond, Mis­souri Repub­li­can and vice chair­man of the Se­nate Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence, who crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Obama for or­der­ing the prison in Cuba closed.

“Un­for­tu­nately, these lat­est num­bers make clear that ful­fill­ing a cam­paign prom­ise to close Guan­tanamo Bay is over­rid­ing what should be the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s first pri­or­ity — pro­tect­ing Amer­i­cans from ter­ror­ists,” Mr. Bond said in a state­ment an­nounc­ing the re­lease of the re­port.

“It is un­ac­cept­able to con­tinue trans­fer­ring these dan­ger­ous de­tainees when we know that one in four are con­firmed or sus­pected of re­turn­ing to the fight,” he said.

Mr. Bond noted that for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, only 19 Is­lamist ter­ror­ists were re­quired and that hav­ing 80 ter­ror­ists “on the loose is alarm­ing.”

“If one of these dan­ger­ous de­tainees attacks our troops or civil­ians, I don’t know how the ad­min­is­tra­tion will ex­plain to the Amer­i­can peo­ple that we had him in cus­tody, knew the risk he could re­turn to the fight, and let him go any­way,” he said.

The re­port said that “of the 150 for­mer GITMO de­tainees as­sessed as con­firmed or sus­pected of re-en­gag­ing in ter­ror­ist or in­sur­gent ac­tiv­i­ties, the In­tel­li­gence Com­mu­nity as­sesses that 13 are dead, 54 are in cus­tody, and 83 re­main at large.”

The re­port de­fended pris­oner re­lease de­ci­sions made un­der Mr. Obama’s 2009 ex­ec­u­tive or­der to re­view the sta­tus of de­tainees.

“Ev­ery de­ci­sion to trans­fer a de­tainee to a for­eign coun­try un­der this re­view was made af­ter a full as­sess­ment of in­tel­li­gence and threat in­for­ma­tion,” the re­port said, not­ing that 66 of those re­leased since Jan­uary 2009 in­clude two peo­ple con­firmed and three sus­pected of re­turn­ing to ji­had.

“The In­tel­li­gence Com­mu­nity as­sesses that the num­ber of for­mer de­tainees iden­ti­fied as reen­gaged in ter­ror­ist or in­sur­gent ac­tiv­ity will in­crease,” the re­port said.

The re­port said a re­view in Fe­bru­ary of de­tainee re­lease dates com­pared with first re­ports of re­turn­ing to the fight showed that it took 2 1/2 years be­fore those re­leased were sus­pected of be­ing back in fight­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to U.S. of­fi­cials, sev­eral re­leased Guan­tanamo pris­on­ers are now part of the Ye­men­based group al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, in­clud­ing key lead­ers.

The re­port said it is not un­usual for re­leased ter­ror­ists to com­mu­ni­cate with ter­ror­ist groups and peo­ple in the groups.

“The rea­sons for com­mu­ni­ca­tion span from the mun­dane (rem­i­nisc­ing about shared ex­pe­ri­ences) to the ne­far­i­ous (plan­ning fu­ture ter­ror­ist op­er­a­tions),” the re­port said.

“Based on trends iden­ti­fied dur­ing the past six years, the In­tel­li­gence Com­mu­nity fur­ther as­sesses that if ad­di­tional de­tainees are trans­ferred from GITMO, some of them will reen­gage in ter­ror­ist or in­sur­gent ac­tiv­i­ties.”

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE / GETTY IMAGES

Can’t wait to get out: A Guan­tanamo de­tainee walks in­side the open-air yard at Camp 4 de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity at Guan­tanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba in May, 2009.

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