By Jamie Crawford
A possible transfer of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay as part of a “confidence building” measure with the Taliban, will be a topic of discussion with members of the Senate leadership, the top U.S. intelligence official told a Senate committee Tuesday.
Any proposed transfer had not been decided and would be part of ongoing consultations with Congress, James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.
“I don’t think anyone in the administration harbors any illusions,” Clapper said of the potential risks of such a deal. He added that the final destination and conditions for how the detainees would be controlled would weigh heavily on a decision.
CIA Director David Petraeus told the committee that CIA analysts had provided assessments of the five detainees and the risks associated with their release.
The analysts looked at “various scenarios by which they could be sent somewhere, not back to Afghanistan or Pakistan, and then based on the various mitigating measures that could be implemented to ensure that they could not return to militant activity.”
The possibility of the release comes at a time when the United States is looking into the possibility of discussions with members of the Taliban as a way to bring about an end to the war in Afghanistan. An initial step could be the establishment of a Taliban office in Qatar. U.S. officials have said the deal would be contingent on the Taliban renouncing terror and backing a peace process.