More of the terror suspects released from the Guantanamo Bay prison are returning to the fight, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
A new report shows the recidivism rate among former suspects released from the U.S. prison in Cuba continues its upward trend, Defense Department press secretary Geoff Morrell said. He did not release the figures, but he said officials are working to declassify the latest report so the rate can be made public.
The rate of those returning to militancy was first reported early last year to be 11 percent. In April it was 14 percent.
Morrell said he believes the numbers are rising because the majority of prisoners have been released and officials are down to the most difficult cases.
"There is no foolproof answer in this realm. That's what makes this so difficult," he told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
While President Barack Obama said Tuesday he still plans to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Morrell suggested plans were on hold. Congress has blocked funding for the endeavor and, under significant political pressure, Obama has said he won't release any more detainees to Yemen because of al-Qaida's grip on that nation.
"We are right now left without either the money or the authority to move detainees from Guantanamo Bay," Morrell said.
Nearly half of the remaining 198 detainees at Guantanamo Bay are from Yemen. U.S. officials believe two Saudis released from Guantanamo, one in 2006 and the other in 2007, may have played significant roles in al-Qaida activities in Yemen.
Obama said Tuesday that no more Guantanamo Bay detainees will be sent to Yemen for now, as his administration ratcheted up security measures after a failed Christmas terror plot to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner.
The attack on a jet arriving in Detroit has heightened concerns about Yemen because the suspect, a 23-year-old Nigerian passenger, claimed to be acting on instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.
Just days before the incident, the Obama administration had sent six men held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center back to Yemen.
Republicans and an increasing number of Democrats in Congress called in recent days on the administration to stop Guantanamo transfers to Yemen in light of the attack.
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