About 25-percent of the suspected terrorist detainees freed from Guantanamo prison in Cuba are known or are believed to have gone back to active terrorism, says a government report that released recently -- a report you probably did not see.
“The Intelligence Community assesses that 81 (13.5 percent) are confirmed and 69 (11.5 percent) are suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer," said House Defense and Oversight Subcommittee, citing data from the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
It is straightforward stuff, dovetailing with Israel's experience in releasing jailed terrorists, where even higher numbers have returned to active terror.
The reason you probably did not see or hear about the report dealing with terrorists or suspected terrorists captured and released since 9/11 is that the report was treated as a minor news item by most media some of which ignored it entirely, while others called it a "Republican report" or "GOP" study.
“Freed Guantanamo Detainees Turn to Terror, Republicans Say," wrote Bloomberg news, and " GOP report questions release of terror suspects from Guantanamo," averred the Associated Press (AP, of course, has been doing a lot of its own reports about how New York's police supposedly harass local Muslims).
For their part, House subcommittee Democrats wanted the report to be treated as a partisan effort, because it shows that Guantanamo (Gitmo) prison holds some very bad people, and that some of those bad people were inadvertently released when the media and liberal groups pressed the Bush Administration to close the facility.
The Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress still say that Gitmo should be closed, and evidence that Gitmo is performing an important function is something that has to be discredited or concealed.
The main reason is that the report and the facts do not agree with the narrative and the rationale of the Democrats, and many in the US media are ready to oblige.
Led by Rep. Steve Smith (D-Wash.), the House subcommittee Democrats tried to undercut the report, even though it was produced by the intelligence community (such as Lt. Gen. James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, an Obama appointee).
The Democrats largely succeeded, but some of their statements are quite funny.
"Many of the key policy makers regarding this issue were not interviewed and only a smattering of government documents were reviewed (about 2000 pages)," said the Democrats' minority report. Since when is 2000 pages just "a smattering” ?
Despite the media/Democrat contention that the intelligence study is a GOP invention, it shows that most Gitmo detainees were released by Republicans—then-President George W. Bush and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom led efforts to reduce Gitmo's prison population which swelled after 9/11.
“ At a minimum, to obtain a comprehensive view of this subject we would like to hear the views," said the Democrats' minority report, "of former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and senior members of the National Security Council and the Intelligence Community."
You can be forgiven for blinking or pinching yourself. Yes, some of the same Democrats who wanted to tar and feather Rumsfeld and Bush for putting people in Gitmo, now desperately want to hear from Rumsfeld. It is nice to be missed.
The same Democrats who felt Bush, Dick Cheney, Powell, Rice and Rumsfeld distorted intelligence data, now feel it is of the utmost urgency to have their testimony added to intelligence data on prisoner releases from Gitmo.
The Democrats claimed that they needed more hard and fast data to draw any conclusions, but it is often hard to track down terrorists or suspected terrorists now in Sudan, Afghanistan or Pakistan, among other remote locales. After all, most Gitmo detainees have been released to overseas locations, and because they do not often ask for food stamps or file pension claims with the US Social Security Administration, it is not always easy to keep tabs on them.
Democrats, reported The Washington Post, conclude that President Barack Obama cannot be accused of releasing terrorists, because Bush released most of them first:
"During the Obama administration, Democrats said, 66 individuals have been transferred from Guantanamo, with only two confirmed as re-engaging. That amounts to about 3.3 percent."
Another reason is that Obama probably would not have jailed them in the first place, but would have preferred to engage them in a constructive dialogue.
Upon entering office, President Barack Obama said he would close Guantanamo Prison within a year, but the report which the House Democrats and many in the media have helped to stifle actually explains why we should be happy this is one promise he has not kept.
Yes, the Democrats and the media are right that there have been injustices at Gitmo, and they are right that some innocent people have been jailed that should not have been. But examining the data on those terrorists who should have been jailed and who should still be in jail is too important to be concealed for partisan reasons.
Dr. Michael Widlanski is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat to be published in March by/Simon and Schuster/Threshold.
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