Top Democrat suggests suspected bomber complicates Gitmo plan
A key Democrat believes that the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas day could complicate the Obama administration’s plans to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
“I’d, at a minimum, say that whatever we were about to do we’d at least have to scrub it again from top to bottom,” House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson told Politico Saturday.
The Nigerian man charged with attempting to blow up flight Northwest 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit reportedly visited Yemen prior to the failed bombing attempt. Almost half of the remaining Guantanamo prisoners are from Yemen, so Thompson anticipates problems with plans to to move them to Thompson Correctional Center in Illinois, according to Politico.
Thompson, who said he plans to convene hearings in January about the bombing attempt, said the reported Yemen links to the incident could even lead some members to question whether Yemenis at Guantanamo should be transferred to the new terror prison the administration wants to set up in Thomson, Ill. “It’s something that’s going to be of interest to everybody…We ought to look at everything we have underway to make sure that something hasn’t been overlooked,” the congressman said.
Other complications could arise as the U.S. attempts to transfer some prisoners back to Yemin. “In terms of sending more of them to return to Yemen, it would be a bit of a reach,” said Thompson.
Matthew Waxman, a former Defense secretary for detainee affairs under President George W. Bush agrees. “I’d expect Yemen’s handling of returned Guantanamo detainees to come under intense U.S. scrutiny,” said Waxman. “In the past, the Yemeni government has not shown great capacity or reliability, but the U.S. hopes to build a stronger partnership and improve that record, in part because it has few other options in this important region,” he said.
Liberal bloggers are questioning the relationship between the failed airplane bombing and closing Guantanamo. Raw Story’s Larisa Alexandrovna wrote, “I always find it remarkable how quickly politics, ignorance, and fear take over all other responses to a tragedy or near-tragedy. We have barely had time to get information about what happened, but the articles are written, the blog posts are composed, and politicians stand ready with all sorts of promises. Reason no longer dictates our national discourse, only fear.”