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Terror Link Cited for 1 in 7 Freed Detainees

Mr. T

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Stupid is what stupid does


1 in 7 Freed Detainees Rejoins Fight, Report Finds



Published: May 20, 2009

WASHINGTON — An unreleased Pentagon report concludes that about one in seven of the 534 prisoners already transferred abroad from the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are engaged in terrorism or militant activity, according to administration officials.


The conclusion could strengthen the arguments of critics who have warned against the transfer or release of any more detainees as part of President Obama’s plan to shut down the prison by January. Past Pentagon reports on Guantánamo recidivism have been met with skepticism from civil liberties groups and criticized for their lack of detail.


The Pentagon promised in January that the latest report would be released soon, but Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said this week that the findings were still “under review.”


Two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the report was being held up by Defense Department employees fearful of upsetting the White House, at a time when even Congressional Democrats have begun to show misgivings over Mr. Obama’s plan to close Guantánamo.


At the White House on Wednesday, Mr. Obama ran into a different kind of resistance when he met with human rights advocates who told him they would oppose any plan that would hold terrorism suspects without charges.


The White House has said Mr. Obama will provide further details about his plans for Guantánamo detainees in a speech Thursday.


To relocate the 240 prisoners now at Guantánamo Bay, administration officials have said the plan will ultimately rely on some combination of sending some overseas for release, transferring others to the custody of foreign governments, and moving the rest to facilities in the United States, either for military or civilian trials or, in some cases, perhaps, to be held without charges.


But the prospect that detainees might be moved to American soil has run into strong opposition in Congress. To show its misgivings, the Senate voted on Wednesday, 90 to 6, to cut from a war-spending bill the $80 million requested by Mr. Obama to close the prison, and overwhelmingly approved a second amendment requiring that a threat assessment be prepared for each prisoner now at Guantánamo to address what might happen on release.


The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, said Wednesday that moving detainees to American prisons would bring with it risks including “the potential for individuals undertaking attacks in the United States.”


But Michele A. Flournoy, the under secretary of defense for policy, said of the detainees: “I think there will be some that need to end up in the United States.”

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