At least 74 former Guantanamo detainees have returned to the battlefield. A dozen of those released to Saudi Arabia and Yemen are members of al Qaeda on the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) and two of them are key leaders believed to have been involved in Umar Farook Abdulmuttalab’s attempt to blow Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from the sky on Christmas Day.
President Barack Obama has released some of Gitmo’s most infamous detainees. His first release was dirty-bomb trained Binyam Mohamed who was arrested in a Pakistani airport in 2002 as he attempted to fly to America to join Jose Padilla. Just last month, the administration released 6 to Yemen, including Ayman Batarfi, a known al Qaeda doctor who attended to wounded jihadists during the battle of Tora Bora, met with bin Laden at Tora Bora, and has admitted ties to al Qaeda’s anthrax program.
Today, the White House announced it would “suspend” the transfer of detainees to Yemen:
The U.S. will not transfer any detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Yemen right now, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.
Ninety detainees in Gitmo are from Yemen, which is combating a resurgent Al Qaeda. A delayed return could mean they will end up in a federal prison in Thomson, Illinois, Gibbs said.
“One of the very first things Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula used as a tool was Gitmo,” Gibbs said. “We’re not going to make transfers to a country like Yemen that they’re not capable of handling (the detainees). While we remain committed to closing the detention facility, the determination has been made that right now any additional transfers to Yemen is not a good idea.”
The remaining 90 Yemeni detainees are among the worst of the worst. Our stateside prisons are secure yet not nearly as secure and isolated as Guantanamo Bay. The real risk of moving detainees from Gitmo to Thomson is it would needlessly endanger those who would guard them, their families, and innocent civilians in the surrounding area. The murdering comrades of the Yemeni detainees will stop at nothing to at least make a statement in blood on U.S. soil.
To be clear, we should keep Gitmo open and leave al Qaeda’s killers there to rot.
Click on image below to view a pdf side-by-side comparison of Gitmo to Thomson