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Obama Downplays The Threat Of Releasing Gitmo Detainees

- December 15, 2015

In A Recent Interview, Obama Defended His Guantanamo Policy And Downplayed The Threat, Claiming The Released Detainees Were "Low Level." KNOX: "One aspect of your Cuba is the closure of the detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. I have two related questions on this. One is we just learned that someone released in 2012 has returned to the fight and returned in a big way. What's your reaction to that? Does that worry you about the vetting process for releasing people there? And the other part of that is if you do succeed in closing down that detention center, would you give the base back to the Cubans? Lord knows they want it back." OBAMA: "Well, first of all, just in terms of Guantanamo policy generally, I am absolutely persuaded as are my top intelligence and military advisers that Guantanamo is used a recruitment tool for organizations like ISIS. And if we want to fight them, then we can't give them these kinds of excuses. In terms of any kind of return to the fight by people who are released by ISIL, keep in mind that between myself and the Bush administration, hundreds of people have been released. And the recidivism rate we anticipate. We assume that there are going to be out of 400, 500, 600 people that get released, that a handful of them are going to be embittered and still engaging in anti-U.S. activities and trying to link up potentially with their old organizations. The judgment that we're continually making is, are there individuals who are significantly more dangerous than the people who are already out there who are fighting? What do they add, do they have special skills? Do they have special knowledge that ends up making them a significant threat to the United States? And, so, the bottom line is the strategic gains we make by closing Guantanamo will outweigh those low level individuals who have been released so far." (Barack Obama, Interview With Yahoo News, Washington, D.C., 12/14/15)

  • Obama Said That Out Of The Hundreds Of Prisoners Released, A "Handful" Are Assumed To Continue Anti-U.S. Activities And That The Recidivism Rate Is What "We Anticipate." OBAMA: "Well, first of all, just in terms of Guantanamo policy generally, I am absolutely persuaded as are my top intelligence and military advisers that Guantanamo is used a recruitment tool for organizations like ISIS. And if we want to fight them, then we can't give them these kinds of excuses. In terms of any kind of return to the fight by people who are released by ISIL, keep in mind that between myself and the Bush administration, hundreds of people have been released. And the recidivism rate we anticipate. We assume that there are going to be out of 400, 500, 600 people that get released, that a handful of them are going to be embittered and still engaging in anti-U.S. activities and trying to link up potentially with their old organizations. The judgment that we're continually making is, are there individuals who are significantly more dangerous than the people who are already out there who are fighting? What do they add, do they have special skills? Do they have special knowledge that ends up making them a significant threat to the United States? And, so, the bottom line is the strategic gains we make by closing Guantanamo will outweigh those low level individuals who have been released so far." (Barack Obama, Interview With Yahoo News, Washington, D.C., 12/14/15)

Click To Watch

While Obama Claims Just A Small "Handful" Of Former Detainees Continue Anti-U.S. Activity, His Own Director Of National Intelligence Says Nearly 200 Are Either Confirmed Or Suspected Of Retuning To Terror

The Weekly Standard Headline: "Obama Releases Dangerous Jihadists-Then Misleads Country About It" (Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, "Obama Releases Dangerous Jihadists-Then Misleads Country About It," The Weekly Standard, 12/14/15)

According To A Report By Obama's Director Of National Intelligence, "196 Former Detainees Are Either Confirmed (117) Or Suspected (79) Of Returning To The Fight." "A handful? Obama is woefully ill-informed or he's being dishonest. According to the most recent report on Guantanamo recidivism, prepared in September 2015 by James Clapper's office, Obama's own Director of National Intelligence, 196 former detainees are either confirmed (117) or suspected (79) of returning to the fight. That's a recidivism rate of more than 30 percent. Intelligence officials tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that those numbers are almost certainly low, as they do not include jihadists the United States and its allies are no longer tracking." (Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, "Obama Releases Dangerous Jihadists-Then Misleads Country About It," The Weekly Standard, 12/14/15)

  • "That's A Recidivism Rate Of More Than 30 Percent." (Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, "Obama Releases Dangerous Jihadists-Then Misleads Country About It," The Weekly Standard , 12/14/15)

Released Guantanamo Prisoners "Return To The Fight With Elevated Status And Often Assume Leadership Roles In The Groups Determined To Attack The U.S. And Its Interests." "Obama continued, describing the process officials use to determine whether a detainee can be released or transferred. 'The judgment that we're continually making is: Are there individuals who are significantly more dangerous than the people who are already out there who are fighting? What do they add? Do they have special skills? Do they have special knowledge that ends up making significant threat to the United States?' It's an odd set of criteria for evaluating threats unless your main objective is emptying the detention facility. These are standards set up to allow the administration to claim that the knowledge base and skill sets of Guantanamo detainees are outdated. But former Guantanamo detainees return to the fight with elevated status and often assume leadership roles in the groups determined to attack the U.S. and its interests. Just like Ibrahim al Qosi." (Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, "Obama Releases Dangerous Jihadists-Then Misleads Country About It," The Weekly Standard, 12/14/15)

Just This Month, News Surfaced That A Former Gitmo Detainee Had Returned To The Fight And Was Shown As A "Key" Leader Of Al Qaeda Of The Arabian Peninsula

A Former Gitmo Detainee Who Was Released In 2012, Appeared In A Terrorist Video, Reemerging "In A Key Position In Al-Qaida Of The Arabian Peninsula." "A former Guantánamo detainee who was released to Sudan after a war court guilty plea has emerged in a key position in Al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula, according to an expert on jihadist movements. 'He's clearly a religious leader in the group,' said Aaron Zelin, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who edits the Jihadology blog. He found Guantánamo 2002-12 detainee Ibrahim al Qosi - his photo and his biography - on the latest video release from the offshoot of Osama bin Laden's organization, 'Guardians of Shariah.' … He pleaded guilty to foot soldier war crimes in 2010 in exchange for release in 2012." (Carol Rosenberg, "Freed Guantanamo Convict Returns To The Fight," Miami Herald, 12/10/15)

  • The Video Claims Qosi "Joined The Jihad In Yemen In December 2014." "The video included Qosi's biography and said he joined the jihad in Yemen in December 2014. It also said he was close to bin Laden 'until he was imprisoned in Guantánamo in 2001.'" (Carol Rosenberg, "Freed Guantanamo Convict Returns To The Fight," Miami Herald, 12/10/15)

In The Video, Qosi And Other AQAP Leaders "Are Shown Discussing The Terror Group's Policy Of Encouraging Attacks Against The West By Individuals And Small Cells." "In the video from Yeman, entitled 'Guardians of Sharia,' Al-Qosi and other AQAP commanders are shown discussing the terror group's policy of encouraging attacks against the West by individuals and small cells. The video also emphasizes the importance of following the teachings of experienced terror ideologues -- a likely reference to ISIS, whose rise over the past 18 months has overshadowed Al Qaeda's long-running terror campaign." ("Prophecy Realized: Ex-Gitmo Detainee, UBL Aide Resurfaces On Battlefield In Yemen," Fox News, 12/10/15)

  • "The Video Also Emphasizes The Importance Of Following The Teachings Of Experienced Terror Ideologues -- A Likely Reference To ISIS…" "In the video from Yeman, entitled 'Guardians of Sharia,' Al-Qosi and other AQAP commanders are shown discussing the terror group's policy of encouraging attacks against the West by individuals and small cells. The video also emphasizes the importance of following the teachings of experienced terror ideologues -- a likely reference to ISIS, whose rise over the past 18 months has overshadowed Al Qaeda's long-running terror campaign." ("Prophecy Realized: Ex-Gitmo Detainee, UBL Aide Resurfaces On Battlefield In Yemen," Fox News, 12/10/15)

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