The Obama administration sent a Guantanamo Bay prisoner back to his native Yemen against the recommendations of the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, Sen. Kit Bond tells Newsmax.
After the failed Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines plane by a suspect trained in Yemen, President Obama froze transfers of prisoners to Yemen and said he would not release any detainee who would endanger the American people. However, in the case of 26-year-old Mohammed Odaini, the Pentagon made an exception after a U.S. district court ordered his release.
Instead, the administration should have appealed the court decision or sent Odaini to a country that would keep him incarcerated, says Bond, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The Missouri Republican has requested the intelligence that prompted both the CIA and the DIA to oppose his release.
So far, the only public information about the circumstances behind Odaini’s detention is that he was captured in an al-Qaida safe house in Pakistan when he was 17. He maintained he was studying the Quran and had no links to al-Qaida.
Bond says sending Odaini to Yemen, a hotbed of al-Qaida activity, invites more attacks and is symptomatic of the administration’s lax approach to national security. He cites an administration claim that a recidivism rate of 20 percent among Guantanamo Bay prisoners who are released is not “that bad.”
“You know, the American penal system, the recidivism rate is up to something about 50 percent or so, as far as return to crime,” counterterrorism chief John Brennan has said. “Twenty percent isn’t that bad.”
Bond counters: “These terrorists who are released kill our troops or plot attacks. “I think it’s outrageous that the Obama administration thinks that a 20 percent recidivism rate isn’t too bad. We’re not talking about a repeat offender who tries to steal cars. We’re talking about repeat offenders who launch terrorist attacks that kill lots of Americans.”
Commenting on the release of Odaini, the Pentagon said in a statement, “The suspension of Yemeni repatriations from Guantanamo remains in effect due to the security situation that exists there. However, the administration respects the decisions of U.S. federal courts.”
Instead of sending Odaini back to Yemen, “They could appeal the ruling and allow more time to look for another country that might take him,” Bond says.
Bond would not say how he knows that the CIA and the DIA advised against the transfer, but it’s understood that the directors of both agencies made the position known.
In a letter to national security adviser James L. Jones, Bond wrote, “Nothing in the court’s decision requires Odaini’s repatriation to Yemen, and both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency recommended against his transfer to Yemen.”
However, Bond says, “The Department of Justice is running intelligence, and I don’t think it does an adequate job of protecting us or getting information from terrorists we apprehend. They advise them of Miranda rights even when they are not American citizens. The release of Odaini is just another example of putting America at risk.”
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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