Tags: report | gitmo | recidivism

Pentagon Report: 14 Percent of Released Gitmo Prisoners Returned to Terrorism

Thursday, 21 May 2009 10:51 AM

By Dan Weil

An unreleased Defense Department study obtained by The New York Times says almost one in seven of the 534 prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba returned to terrorism or military activity.

The Pentagon report calculates a total of 74. It identifies 29 by name, including 16 for the first time. The report says national security precludes naming the other 45.

The list includes Said Ali al-Shihri, a leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen who is suspected of involvement in bombing the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, last year, and Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, an Afghan Taliban commander, also known as Mullah Abdullah Zakir.

The report comes amid controversy over President Obama’s proposal to close the prison. Even Democrats in Congress are starting to balk at that idea.

Obama is slated to flesh out details of his plan for the 240 remaining prisoners in a speech later today.

White House officials say the plan will involve transporting some detainees abroad for release, handing others over to foreign governments and moving the rest to U.S. prisons. Those staying in the U.S. could face military or civilian trials or be held without charges.

Moving prisoners to the U.S. has particularly sparked opposition. FBI Director Robert Mueller warns that doing so brings “the potential for individuals undertaking attacks in the United States.”

The Senate voted 90 to 6 Wednesday to cut $80 million requested by Mr. Obama to close the Cuban prison from a war-spending bill. It also overwhelmingly passed an amendment requiring a study of the danger each prisoner might pose upon release.

Obama also faces opposition from the left. He met with human rights activists Wednesday who said they will oppose any proposal that includes holding the prisoners without charges.

Former vice president Dick Cheney, who also is giving a speech today on terrorism, has blasted the idea of closing Guantanamo and transferring prisoners to the U.S. "That's going to be a tough sell," he told CBS TV.

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