Pentagon releases report detailing Guantanamo detainees’ backgrounds

Pentagon releases report detailing Guantanamo detainees’ backgrounds

Published
Guards from the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion escort a detainee to the medical facility in Camp Four at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention center on Nov. 23, 2007. (Photo: JTF Guantanamo photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Billings.)

The report includes information that is already available to the public, such as the government's summary of the detainee profiles created for Guantanamo's parole-like review board, but this is the first time the information has been compiled in one document.

WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – After months of back and forth, the Pentagon has provided Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) an unclassified report detailing the suspected backgrounds of more than 100 detainees at or recently released from the U.S. military detention center at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

The report includes information that is already available to the public, such as the government’s summary of the detainee profiles created for Guantanamo’s parole-like review board, but this is the first time the information has been compiled in one document.

The Pentagon was required to submit the report to Congress by January under a stipulation included in the annual defense policy bill. Ayotte, an opponent of closing the detention center, has pushed the Pentagon for months to comply with the requirement.

Ayotte released the report publicly Wednesday after first providing it to The Associated Press.

“The Obama administration promised transparency, but this new report shows why they’ve been so reluctant to uphold that promise when it comes to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay,” she said in a written statement.

“The more Americans understand about the terrorist activities and affiliations of these detainees, the more they will oppose the administration’s terribly misguided plans to release them.”

Ayotte announced in April that she had placed a hold on the nomination to be the Pentagon’s general counsel over the late report. She received a report in later in April, according to a press release from her office, but much of the information was classified. She reportedly continued to push for a declassified report, which she received in April and then released her hold on the nomination.

The report covers 107 detainees who were at the prison as of Nov. 25, 2015, the day President Barack Obama signed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. It gives a sentence to a paragraph background on the detainees, and in Ayotte’s words is  “watered down.”

“Most of the detainees who remain at Guantanamo are the worst of the worst, as demonstrated by the fact that 93 percent of the detainees who remained there as of late last year had been assessed as a high risk for a return to terrorism,” Ayotte said in the written statement.

“This report demonstrates once again why we need a common sense law of war detention policy — focused on the security of Americans and nothing else — that keeps terrorists off the battlefield and gathers the intelligence necessary to prevent future attacks.”

The White House sent a Guantanamo closure plan to Congress past due in February. Under the plan, detainees ineligible for transfer or prosecution would be moved to U.S. soil.

Closing the prison has been a point of contention between the White House and Republican lawmakers, both who claim respectively that leaving the facility running and closing it could jeopardize national security.

Republicans have accused Obama of recklessly releasing detainees to other countries in order to make good on a 2008 campaign promise to close the prison. Republicans and Democrats have disagreed over the threat of those cleared and released from the prison.

Opponents to the the closure of Guantanamo point to a figure that shows 30 percent of detainees released by Obama and President George W. Bush are suspected or known to have re-engaged in terrorism.

Proponents of the President’s plan point out that under Obama only 4.9 percent of detainees are confirmed to have re-engaged in terrorism while another 8 percent are suspected of re-engaging.

There are 76 people being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison; 34 of them have been cleared for release.

As recently as June, the Pentagon said that it was still confident that the facility could close within the Obama administration, despite no evidence that Congressional lawmakers have budged on their opposition.

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