Director of National Intelligence: Gitmo Detainees Transferred Under Obama Administration Have Reengaged in Terrorism

Dec 7, 2010 5:21pm

A de-classified summary of a report about detainees formerly held at Guantanamo Bay, written by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, reported that of the 66 former Guantanamo detainees transferred since President Obama took office, “2 are confirmed and 3 are suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities.”

The Bush administration freed many more so-called recidivists, the report stated, having transferred 79 confirmed and 66 suspected of subsequently “reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer.”

As of October 1, 2010, the report stated, 598 detainees have been transferred by the Pentagon from Gitmo into the custody of other countries. “The Intelligence Community assesses that 81 (13.5 percent) are confirmed and 69 (11.5 percent) are suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer. Of the 150 former GTMO detainees assessed as confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities, the Intelligence Community assesses that 13 are dead, 54 are in custody, and 83 remain at large.”

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes issued a statement in response to the report, saying that the "President and our military commanders agree that closing the prison at Guantanamo is a national security imperative in the war against al Qaida. The President has also made it clear that he will move toward that goal in a way that best protects the American people. We take any incidence of recidivism very seriously.  We will deal with recidivists the way we deal with any individual who threatens our national security: by working to bring them to justice.”

You might recall in February of this year, White House adviser John Brennan, the assistant to President Obama for homeland security and counterterrorism, referred to former Gitmo detainees fighting the U.S. as having all been “released during the previous administration and under the prior detainee review process.”

This Brennan seemed to attribute to the new way Gitmo detainee cases are handled, persuant to President Obama's Executive Order 13492, establishing a Guantanamo Review Task Force with more than five dozen prosecutors, analysts, attorneys and others from civilian, military, and intelligence branches of government. 

Transfers are only made after a unanimous decision across multiple government agencies.

In February Brennan reported “no confirmed or suspected recidivists among detainees transferred during this Administration, although we recognize the ongoing risk that detainees could engage in such activity."

On THIS WEEK in May, I asked Attorney General  Eric Holder about a March 2010 Newsweek report  that one of the Gitmo detainees transferred during the Obama administration — Abdul Hafiz, transferred to Afghanistan in December 2009 — had rejoined the Taliban.

“I've not seen the intelligence necessarily that confirms that,” Holder said. “One has to understand that the process that we've put in place, of the 240 prisoners who were in Guantanamo when we took office, was exhaustible. It involved the law enforcement community, it involved the intelligence community. We took into account all of the information we had on each one of those people, did an analysis of each of them, and made a determination as to who potentially was a threat. Only put people in countries where we thought structures could be in place, put in place so that they would not be a threat.”

-Jake Tapper





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