Ghana, the receiving country, lied about the detainees passing security clearance.
Yemeni citizens Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al Dhubyvwere sent to Ghana Wednesday, at which point the West African nation issued a statement saying the detainees “have been cleared of any involvement in terrorist activities, and are being released,” The Long War Journal reports.
The only problem is that the detainees had not been cleared at all. Rather, the Department of Defense simply approved Atef and Dhuby for transfer, which according to a report from the Guantanamo Review Task Force is not the same thing as being “released.”
According to the 2010 report, the term transfer means former detainees still need to be subject to security measures, whereas release means exiting confinement without the need for the receiving country to continue monitoring the security environment. The difference is not trivial.
“It is important to emphasize that a decision to approve a detainee for transfer does not reflect a decision that the detainee poses no threat or no risk of recidivism,” the task force report notes, according to The Long War Journal. “Rather, the decision reflects the best predictive judgment of senior government officials, based on the available information, that any threat posed by the detainee can be sufficiently mitigated through feasible and appropriate security measures in the receiving country.”
During their time in Gitmo, Atef and Dhuby failed to cooperate with authorities. The joint task force at Gitmo said in 2007 Atef was high risk and previously receiving training from al-Qaida and served as a member of the Taliban.
“All Americans shall die because these were the rules of Allah,” Atef said, according to a threat assessment produced by the Gitmo task force. Atef added that “he would research guard force personnel’s names and faces on the internet and sneak into their homes to cut their throats like sheep.”
Dhuby, who grew up in Saudi Arabia, moved to Afghanistan to receive arms training from al-Qaida. Dhuby in particular was suspected of holding back valuable details on the al-Qaida network. Atef cooperated at the start, but soon refused to answer any and all questions from American officials.
The Obama administration has repeatedly suffered embarrassment as released detainees from Guantanamo Bay return to terrorism. About 17 percent of former detainees are confirmed to have reengaged in terrorist activities. The government suspects that an additional 12 percent have also done so.
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