Tags: Guantanamo Bay | prisoner release | terrorism | Rasmussen poll

Rasmussen Majority: Gitmo Prisoners Will Commit Terror if Released

By    |   Monday, 19 Jan 2015 03:16 PM

Americans overwhelmingly fear dangerous terrorists will attack the United States and its allies if President Barack Obama goes through with plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday.

According to Rasmussen's latest national telephone survey, three out of four of 800 likely voters polled on Jan. 15-16 said they believe freed prisoners will commit terrorist activities, with 48 percent saying the possibility is very likely. Only 15 percent believed the scenario is unlikely and two percent say it's not at all likely.

Further, fewer than one-third of those surveyed said they want the prison closed, while 53 percent remain opposed to closing the camp at all, and 19 percent remained undecided.

In recent months, the Obama administration has begun releasing inmates from the prison camp, which opened in the wake of the 9-11 attacks to detain and interrogate potential terrorists.

Obama first vowed to close the prison in 2008, when he was running for his first term in office, despite opposition from people like Sen. John McCain, who has said he fears that the prisoners are being released without a plan for dealing with them other than to let them go free.

Just last week, five Yemeni prisoners were released from the detention center after being held there for more than 12 years, reports the New York Daily News, after having been held there for more than a dozen years. Four of them were sent to Oman and one to Estonia for resettlement.

The men, all captured in Pakistan as suspected al-Qaida fighters in 2009 or even earlier, were approved for release at least six years ago, but authorities have been working to find a country that would accept them, as they did not want to return them to Yemen and possibly to the al-Qaida insurgency there.

There are still 54 out of 122 prisoners waiting for resettlement, reports the Daily News, including at least 47 from Yemen, who other countries do not want to accept.

"We are committed to closing the detention facility. That's our goal and we are working toward that goal," Ian Moss, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department on Guantanamo issues, commented.

But there are many opponents, including McCain, who fear that prisoners are being released and returning to leadership roles in terrorist organizations.

"The eagerness with which this administration wants to get these people out of Guantanamo has clearly overridden good sense and a real concern for the lives of American men and women who are serving," the Arizona Republican said last fall,  warning that many of those returning to their home countries are given leadership positions with the Islamic State, al-Qaida, or other terror groups because it's a "red badge of courage" to have been in the U.S. military prison.

The numbers of those worried about dangerous prisoners being set free does seem to be dropping, however, the Rasmussen poll shows. Where 69 percent are now worried, back in December 2010, 84 percent of the voters were concerned.

The concern level is not surprising, said Rasmussen, which found that confidence in America's efforts in fighting the War on Terror continues to sink to new lows, and after 86 percent of voters said in yet another survey that they are concerned about radical Islamic terrorists.

But even though most of the voters in this month's poll don't want Guantanamo Bay to close, just 42 percent said they think the United States is a safer place because of the prison camp. Another third, though, disagreed, and 27 percent said they are not sure.

And Americans are following the reports about the planned closures carefully, the survey discovered, with 71 percent keeping touch with the news, including 36 percent who are following it very closely.

People who are following the news very closely about Guantanamo were slightly more likely to say it should close, but they were the ones who also felt most strongly that the people being released would resume terrorist activities.

Opinions on the pending closure are divided politically, with 46 percent of Democrats wanting Obama to close the prison and 77 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of non-affiliated voters wanting to keep it open.

Republicans were also more likely to fear danger from the released prisoners, and 64 percent said they believe the country is now safer because of the facility, along with 46 percent of unaffiliated voters. Only 20 percent of Democrats, though, feel more safe with the prison open.

Older voters were also more likely to believe released prisoners will engage in terror attacks, the poll showed, but voters under 40 were less likely to believe the prison camp makes America a safer place.

Overall, though, 85 percent of those who think the prison makes the United States safer oppose closing it, but 63 percent of people who disagree on the safety question believe it should be shut down.

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Americans overwhelmingly fear dangerous terrorists will attack the United States and its allies if President Barack Obama goes through with plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday.
Guantanamo Bay, prisoner release, terrorism, Rasmussen poll
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2015-16-19
Monday, 19 Jan 2015 03:16 PM
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