State Department on Gitmo Recidivism Rate: “We actually expected this to happen”

December 8, 2010 16:50

A State Department spokesman said today that the Obama administration expected that many detainees released or transferred from Guantanamo Bay would return to jihad.

By STEPHEN F. HAYES at The Weekly Standard


The spokesman, P. J. Crowley, made the comments in response to questions about a new report from the Director of National Intelligence that shows the rate of recidivism among former Guantanamo detainees has doubled over the last two years.

The obvious question: If the Obama administration “actually expected this,” why were officials pushing so hard to transfer these dangerous jihadists out of the facility?

The problem is that the Obama administration has consistently underestimated the threat presented by Guantanamo detainees. So they have transferred several jihadists who admitted training in al Qaeda’s notorious al Farouq training camp. Others volunteered that they had trained at Tora Bora under Abdul Haq, a senior al Qaeda operative who sits on al Qaeda’s shura council and has been designated as a terrorist by the U.S. government. Still others lived in an al Qaeda safe house – something not just any wayward goatherd can do.

Many of the Gitmo recidivists have returned to jihad in positions of leadership. Three of the leaders of al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula, the al Qaeda franchise based in Yemen that is proving far more dangerous than the intelligence community had once thought, are former Gitmo prisoners. The same is true for several high-ranking Taliban officials, who spend much of their time working to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Other former Gitmo prisoners have been killed executing attacks on U.S. interests or allies.

Is P. J. Crowley right? Did the Obama administration expect this? And they transferred them anyway?


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