One year after the release of five Taliban commanders in exchange for accused Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl, and roughly five months since the last release of Guantanamo Bay detainees, the Obama administration’s catch-and-release program is back in full swing.
The administration released six Gitmo prisoners Saturday, including three suspected former bodyguards of slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
The freed men are the first released under Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s leadership, at a time when Congress is considering restricting further releases.
Since President Obama came to the White House, the number of prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay has been cut by more than half — from 242 to 116.
Republicans are warning that the men will return to warring against the United States.
“It’s extremely troubling that the Obama administration has sent six dangerous terrorists to Oman, which borders Yemen — a country engulfed in civil war, and that serves as the headquarters for al-Qaida’s most dangerous affiliate,” U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said in a statement.
“Even more disturbing is that fact that the administration has not provided sufficient assurances to Congress or to the public that these terrorists will not return to the battlefield. If they are not securely detained, no one should be surprised if they travel to Yemen and re-engage in terrorist activities.”
Fox News correspondent Molly Henneberg told “America’s News Headquarters” anchor Elizabeth Prann on Saturday the Pentagon is required to alert Congress 30 days ahead of time before a detainee can be transferred.
“At this point, Congress has not received that notice for additional detainee transfers,” Hennneberg said.
The six released Saturday were deemed highly likely to re-engage in terrorist activities if released, Fox News military analyst and retired Gen. Jack Keane said.
“That was in 2008,” he said. “What has changed since then?”
The 242 detainees who were at Guantanamo in 2008 were considered the worst of the worst, and the six freed will likely end up in their home country of Yemen, where they will hook up once again with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Keane said.
“There’s no indication that they’ve been rehabilitated,” Keane said. “This is about a process that’s going on because the president wants to close Guantanamo Bay, and he’s going to empty it out as a way to close it.”
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