The Gitmo alumni on Saudi Arabia’s Most Wanted list
posted at 2:30 pm on February 4, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
How well does releasing Guantanamo Bay detainees work in keeping our nation safe? Saudi Arabia provided an answer today by noting that eleven of the people on its Most Wanted list of terrorists are former Gitmo alumni. All of them passed the Saudi “rehabilitation” process, too:
The Saudi government acknowledged Wednesday that 11 men on the country’s most wanted list are former Guantanamo prisoners who went through rehabilitation, raising doubts about a program intended to counter extremist religious ideology.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order closing down the prison in Cuba on Jan. 22 — his second day in office — leaving nations scrambling over what to do with a potential flood of released detainees.
Some 133 of Guantanamo’s over 700 inmates were Saudi, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Gen. Mansour al-Turki, and 117 have returned to Saudi Arabia and been through rehabilitation programs. …
The Pentagon issued a report on Jan. 13, however, saying that increasing numbers of those released have rejoined militant organizations and carried out attack. Figures from December indicated that 61 former detainees had rejoined these movements, up from 37 in March.
The Saudis want people to know that most of the people who have completed their rehab process have not gone back to al-Qaeda … at least not yet. More than ten percent of them have already, though, and those are just the ones they’ve confirmed. The rest may or may not return to terrorism, with AQ or another affiliated group.
We have released less than 500 detainees from Gitmo over the last few years. Sixty-one have returned to terrorism, and that means we have to expend the same effort all over again to apprehend and detain them to keep them from killing Americans. That’s a recidivist rate of over 15% so far, and a burden on our counterterrorist operations that we simply can’t bear in the long run. If we capture terrorists just to release them, what’s the point in defending ourselves at all?
These aren’t common criminals returning to a life of burglary. These terrorists have vowed to kill Americans here and abroad, and will do so whenever they see an opportunity. Quit playing games with American security and take the threat seriously.