A status report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed two more former Guantanamo Bay detainees were confirmed returning to jihad in the first six months of this year.
The DNI report breaks down the number of released detainees — 693 — and under whose administration the transfers occurred (532 under George W. Bush, 161 under President Obama).
The confirmed recidivism rate is 17.6 percent, with 122 former detainees determined to be engaged in jihadist activity since their release.
The rate of those suspected but not confirmed of returning to jihad is 12.4 percent, or 86 of 693 cases.
Nine detainees total have been confirmed of returning to jihad since Obama took office, according to the report. Eleven former detainees are suspected of returning to jihad during that time period.
No detainees were named. The terror groups joined were also not detailed.
The DNI prepares the unclassified summary in coordination with the CIA and Defense Department, and has been required to do so every six months since 2012.
“Based on trends identified during the past eleven years, we assess that some detainees currently at GTMO will seek to reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities after they are transferred. Transfers to countries with ongoing conflicts and internal instability as well as recruitment by insurgent and terrorist organizations could pose problems,” the assessment states. “While enforcement of transfer conditions may deter reengagement by many former detainees and delay reengagement by others, some detainees who are determined to reengage will do so regardless of any transfer conditions, albeit probably at a lower rate than if they were transferred without conditions.”
“Former GTMO detainees routinely communicate with each other, families of other former detainees, and previous associates who are members of terrorist organizations. The reasons for communication span from the mundane (reminiscing about shared experiences) to the nefarious (planning terrorist operations). We assess that some GTMO detainees transferred in the future also will communicate with other former GTMO detainees and persons in terrorist organizations. We do not consider mere communication with individuals or organizations—including other former GTMO detainees—an indicator of reengagement. Rather, the motives, intentions, and purposes of each communication are taken into account when assessing whether the individual has reengaged.”
Sixty-one detainees remain as Obama works toward his goal of closing the prison facility by the end of his term. Only 20 of the remaining prisoners have been cleared for transfer to a suitable country.
The House today passed 244-174 a bill blocking funds for all transfers from Guantanamo Bay until new safeguards are put in place or Obama’s term ends. A dozen Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while four Republicans voted against it.
“After the latest report that two more former Guantanamo Bay detainees have returned to the fight, it is more critical than ever that we put the safety and security of the American people first,” said sponsor Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.). “The administration has made clear it intends to transfer as many terrorist detainees as possible from Gitmo before the president leaves office in order to fulfill a misguided campaign promise.”
“This is reckless, and it puts American lives at risk. Today a bipartisan majority put our national security ahead of politics, voting to pass my bill to pause Gitmo detainee transfers until new safeguards are in place or the president’s term ends.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said last month that “we still have to go and do some diplomatic work with other countries to determine who’s willing to assume responsibility for these individuals and who’s also willing to assist with the implementation of whatever restrictions may be necessary against them after they’re transferred.”
Asked how Obama could still be confident that Gitmo will be closed by the time he leaves office, Earnest replied, “What we will continue to do is to work to overcome the obstacles that Congress has erected to prevent the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay.”
“And that’s unfortunate, particularly when you consider that Democrats and Republicans, national security professionals in both parties, agree with the conclusion that President Obama has reached, which is that the American people are best served by closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.”
All Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee subsequently warned Obama that he is releasing “increasingly dangerous terrorists” in his rush to fulfill his vow to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.