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Kit Bond: Releasing Gitmo Terrorists Is a Disaster

By Ronald Kessler   |   Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 08:27 AM

The policy of releasing detainees from the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay is a disaster that risks American lives, Sen. Kit Bond, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, tells Newsmax.

The Missouri Republican cites the latest report from the Director of National Intelligence that 25 percent of detainees released from Gitmo are believed to have returned to terrorism.

The previous figure, released last February, was 20 percent.

Moreover, the DNI predicts that the number will increase. Bond notes that when the previous figure came out, John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism chief, said at the Islamic Center at New York University:  “You know, the American penal system, the recidivism rate is up to something about 50 percent or so, as far as return to crime. Twenty percent isn’t that bad.”

Bond says those who return to terrorism are not ordinary criminals. They are at war with the U.S. and willing to die in order to murder as many Americans as possible. Each one could unleash a weapons of mass destruction attack that could kill tens of thousands of Americans.

“Right now the recidivism rate is up to 25 percent, and despite what John Brennan said about 20 percent being not so bad, when you have committed terrorists who have taken an oath and are totally committed to killing Americans, one recidivist is too many, and 20 percent is outrageous,” Bond says. “A recidivism rate of 25 per cent is unbelievable.”

According to the DNI report, a total of 598 detainees have been transferred out of Gitmo since it opened. Of those, 81 are confirmed and 69 are believed to have returned to terrorism or insurgent activity.

Since President Obama took office, 66 of the 598 detainees have been transferred. Of those, two are confirmed and three are suspected of returning to terrorism. However, it typically takes two and a half years before a terrorist can be identified as having reengaged in terrorism or insurgent activity.

While the Bush administration released many more terrorists than Obama has, the initial releases included more detainees who actually were innocent or were on the periphery of terrorism.

An Obama administration task force reported in May that of the 240 detainees at Gitmo when Obama took office, nearly all were, in fact, al-Qaida leaders, fighters, or organizers.

“They initially released the best ones,” Bond says. “They are the ones they thought were the best candidates for rehabilitation, and now we’ve got a 25 percent recidivism rate.”

Bond sees the continuing releases as part of Obama’s “misguided” campaign promise to close Gitmo. He says the Obama administration refers to releases of detainees as “transfers” to their home country, implying that they will be supervised there.

No so — nearly all countries simply let them go free, Bond says.

Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the Obama administration has been so desperate to empty Gitmo that it has offered countries millions of dollars in aid in exchange for taking them.

“The more you release, the more you will find back on the battlefield,” says Bond. “Releasing terrorists was a huge mistake of the Bush administration. But why are we continuing to compound that mistake? Our priorities should be the safety of Americans, our allies, and our troops. We can't afford a release program to fulfill a campaign promise.”

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.

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