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Unclassified Report Calls into Question Release of GITMO Detainees

Unclassified Report Calls into Question Release of GITMO Detainees Homeland Security TodayIn a controversial move on Tuesday, the Obama administration approved the release of 15 detainees from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention facility (GITMO) to the United Arab Emirates as part of an ongoing effort to close the military prison. Opponents of the transfer derided the decision over concerns it could increase the terrorist threat to the United States.

Periodic Review Boards consisting of representatives from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined that detention of the prisoners was no longer necessary to protect the American people, according to a statement by the Pentagon.

Nearly 150 inmates had already been transferred from GITMO, and now only 61 detainees remain. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, called the transfer of the GITMO detainees a “reckless policy” threatening the security of the homeland.

“At least a third of the inmates released from GTMO are suspected of returning to the fight,” said McCaul. “Even more shocking, the Administration has admitted that Americans have been killed by these released detainees. And now the President is giving more terrorists a one-way ticket back to the battlefield. We are a nation at war, and our commander-in-chief shouldn’t be handing back operatives to the other side.”

Just days beforehand, US Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who has long been at the forefront of the fight for more transparency regarding the threat from GITMO detainees, released an unclassified report that she secured from the Department of Defense (DOD) containing the criminal and terrorist background information of the 107 GITMO detainees who were detainedthere as of November 25, 2015.

The detainees listed in DOD’s unclassified report include several former bodyguards of Osama Bin Laden, dozens who received training and/or weapons at Al Qaeda’s al-Farouq camp, and terrorists who targeted US forces and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

“The preeminent responsibility of the federal government is to keep the American people safe, yet the Obama administration’s misguided commitment to releasing detainees in order to eventually close Guantanamo unacceptably gambles with our nation’s safety,” said Ayotte.

Ayotte described the detainees remaining at GITMO as “the worst of the worst.” Homeland Security Today’s Editor-in-Chief Anthony Kimery previously reported that those remaining at GITMO pose a high risk of re-engaging in jihad.

In fact, Kimery discussed a 2015 report from the Director of National Intelligence revealing that almost 18 percent (116 of 647) of former GITMO detainees have reengaged in jihad since being freed between January 22, 2009 and January 15, 2015. Another 10.7 percent (69 of 647) are strongly suspected of having reengaged, for a total of nearly 30 percent.

With the high risk that GITMO transfers will return to terrorism, Ayotte believes President Obama’s aggressive push to close the detention facility at GITMO poses a significant threat to the United States.

"The Obama administration promised transparency, but this new report shows why they’ve been so reluctant to uphold that promise when it comes to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The more Americans understand about the terrorist activities and affiliations of these detainees, the more they will oppose the administration’s terribly misguided plans to release them," said Ayotte.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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