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Judicial Watch • As More Gitmo Prisoners Go Free Intel Report Affirms Return to Terrorism

As More Gitmo Prisoners Go Free Intel Report Affirms Return to Terrorism

As More Gitmo Prisoners Go Free Intel Report Affirms Return to Terrorism

MARCH 10, 2016

While President Obama continues releasing terrorists from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo a new intelligence report discloses that dozens have reengaged in terrorism after leaving the compound at the Naval base in southeast Cuba. Of the 144 Gitmo prisoners freed by the Obama administration seven are confirmed to have returned to the fight, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Of the 532 captives released under the George W. Bush administration, 111 eventually reengaged in extremist causes, the ODNI reveals.

Gitmo detainees returning to terrorism is nothing new and in fact has been widely reported by Judicial Watch for years. As far back as 2010 JW wrote about an ODNI report to Congress documenting that 150 former Gitmo prisoners were confirmed or suspected of “reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer.” At the time the agency revealed that at least 83 “remain at large” and that if additional detainees get released some will “reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities.” That assessment came two years after the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency disclosed a sharp rise in the number of Gitmo detainees who rejoin terrorist missions after leaving U.S. custody. Using data such as fingerprints, pictures and other reports the defense agency, which gathers foreign military intelligence, determined that the number of Middle Eastern terrorists who returned to “the fight” after being released nearly doubled in a short time.

In 2014, years after liberating an Al Qaeda operative from Gitmo, the U.S. government put him on a global terrorist list and offered a $5 million reward for information on his whereabouts. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. JW published that embarrassing story as the Obama administration began freeing more and more Gitmo inmates to meet the president’s longtime goal of closing the compound. Still left at the top security facility are the world’s most dangerous terrorists, including 9/11 masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi as well as USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The administration is set on bringing them to prisons in the U.S., which has caused fury among officials and legislators in states where the facilities being considered are located.

While those arrangements get settled, the administration has embarked on a frenzy releasing Gitmo prisoners to foreign countries—many in the Middle East—in a last-ditch effort to empty out the compound. Many will go back to their terrorist ways, according to the ODNI. “Based on trends identified during the past eleven years, we assess that some detainees currently at GTMO will seek to reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities after they are transferred,” the latest agency assessment states. “Transfers to countries with ongoing conflicts and internal instability, as well as recruitment by insurgent and terrorist organizations, could pose problems. While enforcement of transfer conditions may deter reengagement by many former detainees and delay reengagement by others, some detainees who are determined to reengage will do so regardless of any transfer conditions, albeit probably at a lower rate than if they were transferred without conditions.”

The intelligence dispatch also certifies that former Gitmo detainees routinely communicate with each other, families of other former detainees and previous associates who are members of terrorist organizations. “The reasons for communication span the mundane (reminiscing about shared experiences) to the nefarious (planning terrorist operations),” the ODNI report says. “We assess that some GTMO detainees transferred in the future will also 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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