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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

69 Former Guantanamo Detainees Confirmed to Have Returned to Terror Still at Large

Sixty-nine of the former Guantanamo Bay detainees confirmed to have reengaged in terrorist activity after their release are still at large, according to an update from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The report summary was declassified in December and released by ODNI last week, and covers statistics as of Aug. 31, 2020.

Out of 729 detainees transferred out of Gitmo, ODNI said 125 have been confirmed as reentering terrorism, while noting that the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation put the number at 130. Thirty-six of the 125 are now deceased, while 20 are in foreign custody.

Out of the released former detainees, 104 are suspected of reengaging in terrorism. Eighty-two of those are at large, 17 are in foreign custody, and five are deceased.

“Based on trends identified during the past 17 years, we assess that some detainees currently at GTMO will seek to reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities after they are transferred. Transfers to countries with ongoing conflicts and internal instability as well as recruitment by insurgent and terrorist organizations could pose an increased risk of reengagement,” ODNI said. “While enforcement of transfer conditions probably has deterred many former detainees from reengagement, some detainees determined to reengage have and will do so regardless of any transfer conditions, albeit at a lower rate than if they were transferred without conditions.”

Former detainees “routinely communicate with each other, families of other former detainees, and members of terrorist organizations.”

“The reasons for communication span from the mundane (reminiscing about shared experiences) to the nefarious (planning terrorist operations),” the report summary said. “We assess that some GTMO detainees to be transferred in the future probably would communicate with other former GTMO detainees and persons in terrorist organizations. We do not consider mere communication with individuals or organizations—including other former GTMO detainees—an indicator of reengagement. Rather, the motives, intentions, and purposes of each communication are taken into account when assessing whether the individual has reengaged.”

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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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