View Full Version : Closing Gitmo - How many have returned to the battlefield?

01-27-09, 11:19 AM
Closing Gitmo - How many have returned to the battlefield?

A library technician shows a detainee books and magazines available for check out at Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s Camp 6 detention facility here, July 8, 2008. Camp 6 houses enemy combatants detained by the JTF and is modeled after detention facilities in the United States. JTF Guantanamo conducts safe and humane care and custody of detained enemy combatants. The JTF conducts interrogation operations to collect strategic intelligence in support of the Global War on Terror and supports law enforcement and war crimes investigations. JTF Guantanamo is committed to the safety and security of American service members and civilians working inside its detention facilities. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Treadwell

As a result of the executive order written by President Obama, the DOD begins moving towards closing Gitmo's detainee facility. Here's the presser on what is happening and the numbers on released detainees (emphasis in the story is mine):

Defense Officials Address Detainee Concerns
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - As the Defense Department prepares plans to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, defense officials acknowledge the possibility that released detainees could return to the battlefield.

"It's something that we're cognizant of. It's obviously something that we try to assess at the time of transfer when we are looking at these individuals," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters on Jan. 23.

President Barack Obama on Jan. 22 signed an executive order that directs the closure of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo within a year.

The detention center has housed nearly 800 suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places since the start of the global war on terrorism that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. About 250 detainees are being held at Guantanamo, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Of the more than 500 detainees who have been transferred from Defense Department custody, 18 allegedly have resumed terrorist activities and another 43 former detainees are suspected of having resumed their former lives, Whitman said.

Whitman addressed a query from a reporter citing news reports that a former Guantanamo detainee had apparently become an associate leader for al-Qaida in Yemen.

Guantanamo inmates' cases are reviewed annually, Whitman said, to ascertain whether or not they qualify for release. However, he said, there's no guarantee released individuals won't return to terrorism.

"You can't have absolute certainly," Whitman acknowledged.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Jan. 22 acknowledged there are challenges inherent with shuttering the center.

"Clearly, the challenge that faces us, and that I've acknowledged before, is figuring out how do we close Guantanamo and at the same time safeguard the security of the American people," he said.

There "are answers to those questions," Gates said, noting there is "a lot of work to do."

One possible result of this order may be the reduction in captured terrorists. Or the converse, an upswing in dead terrorists as Special Ops soldiers may not want to have to fight the same terrorists twice.