Dozens of released Guantanamo detainees have returned to the battlefield, said a senior US Senator, urging the Barack Obama administration not to release more inmates from the war-on-terror prison camp.
US Senator Dianne Feinstein told CBS television’s “Face the Nation” program that about a third of former inmates at the US naval base who have returned to fight against US interests come from Yemen, the new focal point in the US fight against terrorism.
“If you look at Yemen, and we’re taking a good look at Yemen, what you see is I think at least 24 or 28 are confirmed returned to the battlefield in Yemen, and a number are suspected,” said Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“If you combine the suspected and the confirmed, the number I have is 74 detainees have gone back into the fight, and I think that’s bad,” she said.
Closing Guantanamo: a numbers game
“I think the Gitmo experience is not one that leads to rehabilitation,” Feinstein added.
Her views were seconded by Congressman Peter Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, who appeared on the same CBS television program.
“These people are released and a number of them go back to the battlefield,” he said.
“When these Gitmo detainees find their way back on the battlefield, they’re no longer focused on the conflict in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iraq,” he said.
“They form the corps of people who want to attack the United States. It’s a national security, homeland security issue.”
Their remarks came just days after a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that an increasing number of former detainees from the US prison in Guantanamo have forged links to militant groups after their release.
Spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters last week that the precise number remained classified, but was in keeping with an April Defense Department report in April that found that about 14 percent of former Guantanamo inmates had engaged in or were suspected of having ties to militants.
The issue has taken on heightened importance after a failed attack on a US airliner on Christmas Day was tied to Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, where two former Guantanamo detainees are believed to be acting as senior leaders.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday suspended transfers of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen following the Christmas Day incident.
The administration remains under intense pressure however from domestic critics not to release any of the remaining 198 detainees at Guantanamo, which include includes an estimated 91 Yemenis, amid rising fear in the United States regarding terrorism.
This video is from CBS’ Face the Nation, broadcast Jan. 10, 2010.
Trump announces toughest sanctions ‘ever’ on Iran
President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran's central bank, calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States.
"We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
"These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country," he said.
The Trump administration has vowed a response after US officials blamed Iran for weekend blasts on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which caused a sharp hike in global crude prices.
The United States already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran including on its central bank, with anyone who deals with it subject to prosecution.
Trump uncorks bizarre rant on ‘clean coal’ in Oval Office: ‘When you talk minerals, it’s about digging’
President Donald Trump on Friday uncorked a strange and nonsensical rant about the virtues of so-called "clean coal" during an Oval Office conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
When asked about the importance of Australia's mineral industry, the president praised the country for doing so much to extract resources in what he described in an environmentally friendly way.
"Coal, as an example, you're the leader of safety in coal digging and we've actually studied it," the president said. "We're doing a lot of coal. You have very little -- you have almost no -- used to have a thing, black lung disease, and in Australia you almost don't have it anymore, you've got all of the dust down."
The View explodes in confusion after Meghan McCain makes Trump’s Ukraine debacle all about herself
Meghan McCain managed to place herself at the center of a debate about a whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump.
"The View" grappled with reports that Trump dangled U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information against Joe Biden, and co-host Abby Huntsman agreed that was an impeachable offense -- but expressed doubts about the accuracy.
"This is a blown-up story and we have no facts, there's no gray area," Huntsman said. "It's black and white, and that would give Trump all the more ammunition if this isn't even true to say, this is what the media does."