On January 22, as one of his first official acts as president, Barack Obama signed an executive order mandating the closing of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within one year. Liberals on two continents cheered.
But what to do with the detainees? France agreed to take one prisoner; Ireland two. A few others have made “commitments” to take one or two miscreants off of our hands, after months of pleading from the Obama administration. For the most part, however, the Euro-states who did the most braying about Gitmo detainees have declined to accept them into their streets and jails.
For a while, Democrats floated the idea of releasing some of the detainees into federal prisons in the United States. But those plans were met with public uproar after, among other things, FBI director Robert Mueller admitted that bringing the prisoners onto the mainland risked “the potential for individuals undertaking attacks in the United States.”
You don’t say.
Gitmo detainees are released on occasion, usually as prelude to a public relations fiasco. In May, the New York Times reported on a unreleased Pentagon report estimating that one in seven of the released Gitmo prisoners return to their old terrorist ways. Said Ali al-Shiri, after being released from Guantanamo in 2007, established himself as chief of al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch and has been implicated in the subsequent bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Sana in September 2008. Then there were the Chinese Uighurs, released in June to Bermuda, where they were photographed laughing and sunning it up in paradise while the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 were back in the States watching their 401Ks dwindle to nothingness.
It doesn’t seem as though the administration has quite figured out how to unravel the Gitmo conundrum, though by all accounts Obama remains steadfast in his commitment to close the facility. Some 80 detainees are already set for release; others will be likewise cleared after a comprehensive “review.” Some of the released will doubtless return to jihad.
Among the prisoners still at Guantanamo is Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a.k.a KSM, the self-professed mastermind of the September 11 attacks. The man directly responsible for the plan which vaporized 3,000 human beings, and the man who plotted more atrocities. KSM was captured in Pakistan in March 2003 and refused to talk — until we put the screws on with enhanced interrogation techniques, after which he sang like a canary, divulging endless details of al-Qaeda command structure, personnel, and plans. He became what the CIA calls their “preeminent source” for information on the terror network.
But not until he was waterboarded 183 times.