WASHINGTON — About one-fourth of all released Guantanamo detainees have been confirmed or suspected of engaging in terrorism or insurgency activity, according to a new U.S. intelligence report. The vast majority of them were freed by the Bush administration.
Director of national intelligence James Clapper included the figure in a report filed with Congress on Tuesday that was required by the 2010 U.S. intelligence funding bill.
The 150 former Guantanamo detainees who turned to terrorism or may have done so include 83 men who are at large, 54 who are now in custody and 13 who have been confirmed dead.
In all, the United States has released about 600 captives from Guantanamo. Some have been repatriated to their home nations, others resettled in third countries and six were sent home after their deaths — five of them apparent suicides.
The report said 81 men — 13.5 percent of those released — were confirmed to have gone on to plan, fund, conduct or recruit for attacks or suicide bombings on U.S. coalition forces or civilians.
In one of the most notorious confirmed cases, Kuwaiti Abdullah al Ajmi, 29, blew himself up in a truck bombing at Iraqi Army headquarters in Mosul in March 2008. He had spent three years at Guantanamo as Detainee No. 220 and was released through a Bush administration review process in 2005.
Another 65 men once held at Guantanamo are suspected in terror attacks. Those suspicions were based on a single report or "plausible but unverified" information, according to the intelligence directorate.
Missouri Republican Sen. Kit Bond, a member of the intelligence committee, used the occasion of the report to urge the White House to stop detainee releases from Guantanamo.
The prison camp census stood at 174 Wednesday. Only three of those held have been convicted of war crimes. They include confessed teen terrorist Omar Khadr, who is slated to return to his native Canada next year under a plea agreement. Only one captive is currently facing trial by military commission.
"It is unacceptable to continue transferring these dangerous detainees when we know that one in four are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight," Bond said in a statement that accused President Barack Obama of trying to fulfill a campaign promise to close the facility rather than "protecting Americans from terrorists."
Tuesday's report provided none of the recidivist captives' names or nationalities. It did distinguish between Bush-era releases and those released during the Obama administration, which established a Task Force Review of each captive file in a failed bid to empty the prison camps in southeast Cuba by Jan. 22, 2010.
Two of the 66 captives released from Guantanamo by the Obama administration are confirmed recidivists, according to the report. Another three are suspected of turning to terrorism or insurgent activities.