The Obama administration is releasing “increasingly dangerous terrorists” from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Chairman Devin Nunes, along with 13 other congressmen, sent a letter to President Barack Obama Wednesday objecting the administration’s recent release of 15 terrorists to the United Arab Emirates. Obama plans to close the Guantanamo detention center by the end of his term, which has led to increasingly frequent detainee transfers.
“As you continue to draw down the prisoner population at Guantanamo Bay, you are releasing increasingly dangerous terrorists who are more closely linked to al-Qaida and attacks against the U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan,” stated the letter. “This largest-ever release includes several who trained in al-Qaida training camps, were bodyguards for [Osama] bin Laden, and fought at Tora Bora.”
Nunes and company point to the release of Baidullah Bertola Obaidullah as posing a particularly egregious risk to national security. The 36-year-old Afghan was captured by U.S. special operations forces in 2002. He was found with schematics for detonators and 23 anti-tank mines, which were likely going to used as improvised explosive devices.
The Obama administration’s Periodic Review Board, which is responsible for reviewing and processing detainee releases, reported that Obaidullah was “mostly compliant” because he had committed “less than 100 infractions since his arrival [to Guantanamo] — a low number relative to the other detainees.”
“If 100 infractions is considered a low number, then the bar for acceptable behavior has skewed far from reality,” the letter said.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) reported in 2015 that between 18 to 30 percent of Guantanamo detainees have re-engaged in terrorism.
The administration’s detainee releases in the past year have included some of the most hardened terrorists housed in the detention facility. Many worked directly under bin Laden and his former deputy, and current leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Some of those released, including Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby and Omar Khalif Mohammed — released in April — are considered expert bomb makers, and almost certainly have American blood on their hands.
Nunes and his fellow co-signers urged the president to reconsider his release policy and formulate a new strategy to deal with the dangerous detainees.
“Your actions increase the risk to U.S. forces and any injuries or deaths as a result are solely your responsibility,” warned the congressmen.
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