Report: More former GITMO detainees back on the battlefield
A US military guard stands watch with detainees in Cell Block A of the "Camp Six" detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
March 6th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Report: More former GITMO detainees back on the battlefield

By: Pam Benson

The number of former Guantanamo Bay detainees who have re-engaged in terrorist activities since their release has increased slightly according to a new report made public Monday by the director of national intelligence.

The congressionally-mandated summary shows that 167 out of 599 detainees who were transferred to other countries as of December 2011 are either confirmed or suspected of returning to the battlefield, fighting Western interests. That represents nearly 28% of those released.

But the report also indicates 14 of those people are dead and 54 are in custody. Most of the releases occurred during the Bush administration, and the increased recidivism rate applied mostly to those released detainees.

A similar study released in late 2010 indicated 150 of the former Guantanamo Bay inmates - 25% of the total - were either confirmed or suspected of engaging in terrorism after their release.

A Pentagon spokesman took exception to characterizing the current recidivism rate at 28%. Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale said the intelligence bar for someone confirmed of returning to terrorism is much higher. "Someone on the "suspected" list could very possibly not be engaged in activities that are counter to our national security interests," Breasseale said.

There are currently 171 individuals still in custody at Guantanamo Bay. Approximately 60 detainees have been cleared for transfer to another country if the proper security arrangements can be made. And 30 Yemeni nationals are in conditional detention because of the current security situation in Yemen.

At a congressional hearing last year, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers said, much like the criminal justice system, there are inherently some repeat offenders among those detainees transferred to other countries.

He added the United States is dependent on those nations to carry through on their obligations. "But countries are sovereign, and we do our best to ensure that these conditions are met," Vickers said. "They are not always met 100% in some of these areas, so that is part of the challenge."

In the new report, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged the possibility of problems with future transfers. "We assess that if additional detainees are transferred without conditions from (Guantanamo Bay), some will reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities. Posing a particular problem are transfers to countries with ongoing conflicts and internal instability as well as active recruitment by insurgent and terrorist organizations."

That fear of detainees returning to the battlefield prompted Congress last year to place restrictions on the Obama administration's ability to transfer individuals from Guantanamo Bay.

Some members of Congress are particularly concerned about the possibility that the the administration is considering a proposal to transfer five Afghan detainees from Guantanamo Bay in an effort to open up discussions with the Taliban to bring about an end to the war in Afghanistan.

At a Senate Intelligence Committee world threats hearing last month, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, worried that the detainees were too dangerous to be released from U.S. custody.

Clapper told Chambliss any proposed transfer had not been decided and would be part of ongoing consultations with Congress.

Filed under: Detainees • Terrorism
soundoff (24 Responses)
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  6. Camping forum

    This article kills me. Why are we closing the one place the terrorist's are afraid of. Why do we let them out again? Death penalty!

    January 4, 2015 at 10:23 am | Reply
  7. Kayaking forum

    Obama don't close the base!!!! 28% is lower then the actually number. We just have not caught all of them yet.

    January 3, 2015 at 10:01 am | Reply
  8. In home personal training

    This blows my mind "The congressionally-mandated summary shows that 167 out of 599 detainees who were transferred to other countries as of December 2011 are either confirmed or suspected of returning to the battlefield, fighting Western interests. That represents nearly 28% of those released." Just kill them.

    April 16, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Reply
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  10. Txjack

    This is the real reason hy Obama wanted to close Gitmo.

    So that all of his buddies can go back and attack us agian.

    March 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  11. RetiredVet

    George, what does your rant have to do about the Gitmo detainees?

    March 6, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
    • G.W.

      Did you read the part in my rant about dirty evil zionist?

      Did you read the part that people have the right to fight evil?

      If you did you would realize the people held captive in cuba by our zionist-controlled govt. are doing just what g. washington did to fight the evil british. different centuries but evil keeps coming back.

      stupid army vet – why didn't you join the Marines – what are you a sissy. couldn't take the training? Thought so.


      But look at my thumb . . . gee you're dumb.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
      • RetiredVet

        G.W., you say that your a former Marine, well guess what I'm a RETIRED US NAVY, obviously you are off of your meds to respond to my question. I served 20 years defending my country so obviously I did my part to fight against evil. It seems to me that your a racist P.O.S. who has issues. The "people" are in Gitmo are there for a reason, they pose a threat to the US, if you were a rational human being you would understand that.The "people" in Gitmo are evil, I guess you didn't serve there, I bet you never made it out of MCRD San Diego, YOU DON'T REPRESENT THE USMC, THE USMC DOESN'T TOLARATE PEOPLE LIKE YOU. I HAVE WORKED WITH THE USMC WHEN I WAS IN THE US NAVY, AS WELL AS SPECWAR. GEORGE SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP YOU AREN'T THINKING LIKE A RATIONAL HUMAN BEING.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  12. George Washington

    When the dirty evil British, Under King George, murdered innocent American women and children in 18th century when they were running the show here . . . their evil deeds were answered by freedom loving and decent Americans who had had enough of the British style of governing. They fought back.

    Now, under Obama and his new world order zionist masters, the world is under attack!

    Obama uses the American poeple/Armed Forces as tools to further the selfish interests of the zionists to run the world from tel-aviv.

    Every freedom loving man woman and children has universal right to fight against evil.

    Today, the evil is zionism. zonists have taken over our nation.


    We are not a zionist nation. AND WE ARE NOT SLAVES!

    March 6, 2012 at 7:38 am | Reply
    • willie

      I am not worried at all about the Zionists, I am worried about the Al Qaeda, something our "president" seems to be protecting, and encouraging there spread all over the world.
      Right now in the USA, and Great Britain, there are places that nom Muslimes are not allowed to enter. Setting up Sharia Law, how would you like to live under that legal system?
      How did the "Arab" Spring" work out for freedom? It only gave Muslim terrorists more backing to attack freedom from. How many wars are currently going on around the world? and how many of them are Muslimes attacking Christians, murdering and raping the general population. Turning them into slaves.
      And the history or released prisoners from Gitmo, does not show good results for Freedom

      Yes, I sure am in favor of releasing any Gitmo prisoners. (Heavy Dripping Sarcasm)

      July 26, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Reply

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