On Monday, 10 inmates at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba were transferred to Oman by order of President Obama. This is not the first time Oman has accepted prisoners transferred from the facility, though the majority of Guantanamo detainees are transferred to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Though the prisoners are initially transferred to prison facilities within the country accepting them, they are often quickly released by the accepting countries, and in some cases they are able to escape from custody and/or monitoring. And though Oman is considered to be relatively stable compared to Yemen and Saudi Arabia, it is still a third world country on the Arabian peninsula, and is said to have been compromised by Al-Qaeda affiliates infiltrating the country by way of Yemen.
It is baffling that Obama thinks transferring these high-risk individuals to Muslim or third world countries is a good idea, especially considering the countries in question have prison facilities are far less safe, and are often compromised from within. But what makes it even worse is when you take a closer look at the detainees that have been transferred out of US custody.
Twitter user Thomas Joscelyn exposed several of the transferees recently in an extensive Twitter thread. A close look at some of them should give pause as to why their release was ever even considered:
4. *BREAKING* One transferred GTMO detainee was Bin Laden bodyguard, may have been selected to take part in aborted 9/11 hijackings: pic.twitter.com/NDh7awWVLd
— Thomas Joscelyn (@thomasjoscelyn) January 17, 2017
6. Abdul Zahir was probably a translator for Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, Osama bin Laden's most senior commander in pre-9/11 Afghanistan: pic.twitter.com/NioYwbHBLl
— Thomas Joscelyn (@thomasjoscelyn) January 18, 2017
8. "Karachi 6" were long suspected of preparing to take part in AQ attacks against Americans. Obama admin rewrote assessment to "low-level" pic.twitter.com/Hj3nLR5Kcy
— Thomas Joscelyn (@thomasjoscelyn) January 18, 2017
You can’t make this stuff up. The detainees recently transferred out of US custody have direct ties to Bin Laden and terrorist attacks against US forces.
Presumably, prisoners are released from US custody because they are either deemed wrongfully imprisoned, or unlikely to return to terrorism. Yes, somehow the Obama administration thinks that years in a hot US military prison in Cuba, surrounded only by fellow detainees and a Koran, is going to make these inmates any less radicalized. On the contrary; wouldn’t it be wiser to assume that such detainment and harsh interrogation would either A) fuel further resent in real-deal terrorists, or B) piss off and radicalize any detainee wrongfully swept up in the first place?
Yup, you got that right. In his rush to make good on his 2008 campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay, a large number of the many detainees released by Obama have rejoined the fight. And they’re only the ones our intelligence agencies have been able to monitor. The Weekly Standard detailed how harmful the policy of releasing detainees really is:
He wasn’t finished. “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 four, five, six hundred people that get released—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,” Obama said.
That wasn’t true. When Obama made this claim, 653 detainees had been released. Of that group, 196 had been confirmed (117) or suspected (79) of returning to jihadist activity upon their release. Those numbers came from the office of the director of national intelligence and represent the U.S. government’s official count of Guantánamo recidivism. Nearly one-in-three former detainees returned to the fight, not a “handful,” as the president suggested.
There was more. “The bottom line is that the strategic gains we make by closing Guantánamo will outweigh, you know, those low-level individuals who, you know, have been released so far.”
Again, false. The U.S. government—under George W. Bush and Barack Obama—has released dozens of veteran jihadists whose terror résumés include senior positions in al Qaeda and like-minded groups. And of course Obama had himself transferred five senior Taliban officials to Qatar in order to secure the release of Bowe Bergdahl.
So, at a time of escalated threat levels from international terrorists, the president of the United States is releasing dangerous jihadists against the advice of the military and intelligence professionals who have studied the threat for years, and he’s lying to the American people to downplay the threat.
What a surprise – sitting in G-Bay for years hasn’t led detainees to hate the US or their captors any less. But somehow, the Obama administration thought that the most dangerous prisoners held at the facility were going to be forgiving and A-OK with years of waterboarding and “enhanced interrogation,” and that they wouldn’t go right back to jihad-ing when they were let go.
If these detainees escape or are released without US permission, the only recourse our country would have would be to “cut aid” to the releasing nation. And what if the detainees are released in response to aid being cut for another reason? The Obama administration is in such a rush to close the facility, they are willing to give Muslim nations Guantanamo detainees to possibly be used as foreign policy bargaining chips?
Joscelyn’s reports solidify the dangers these recently released detainees pose to the US. The detainees released Monday have direct connections to Osama Bin Laden, have long-standing histories of participating in terrorism, often against US armed forces, and in most cases, they are the ones who have been in the facility the longest (the profiles released by Joscelyn indicate the majority of the released detainees were brought to the facility in 2002).
Obama is releasing the most dangerous Guantanamo detainees from US custody, all for the optics of his foolish campaign promise as part of an attempt to fulfill his “legacy.” And he is already doing the most half-assed job possible of fulfilling his campaign promise, as the facility will remain open when he leaves office. Originally, 775 detainees were brought to the facility, and prior to Monday’s release, the facility held 55 prisoners, or about 7% of the original number. The remaining detainees are the real deal, the ones who have likely been there the longest, and who are almost certainly the most dangerous. Obama really couldn’t just put the decision off one week, and let Trump handle how to deal with the remaining detainees?
It would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.