Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Guantanamo transfers under scrutiny after deal with Taliban over release

A roll of stickers saying “Standing with Bowe” sits on a table at Zaney’s coffee shop Monday in Hailey, Idaho. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed Saturday, worked at Zaney’s as a teen.  

Getty Images

A roll of stickers saying “Standing with Bowe” sits on a table at Zaney’s coffee shop Monday in Hailey, Idaho. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed Saturday, worked at Zaney’s as a teen. 

WASHINGTON — The release of five senior Taliban figures in exchange for the only U.S. soldier in captivity has put the spotlight on a controversial and much-debated aspect of the 12-year-old war against terrorism: How many of the detainees transferred out of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have returned to the fight?

About 614 detainees held at the detention center since it opened in 2002 have been sent home or resettled in third countries by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, according to the most recent version of a biannual report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and required by Congress. Of those, 104 — 16.9 percent — are confirmed to have returned to terrorist activity of some kind, the report says. An additional 74 former detainees — 12.1 percent — are suspected of engaging in terrorist activities, defense officials say.

The military says it uses fingerprints, DNA analysis and "well-collaborated intelligence reporting" to verify who has rejoined al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations, the office said in a fact sheet published in 2009.

The detainee statistics released by the Pentagon have been challenged. In particular, a project conducted at Seton Hall University suggested that evidence against former detainees listed in the "suspected" category was sometimes flimsy. Seton Hall also highlighted a number of past detainees who started careers as diplomats, businessmen and in other civilian jobs.

The issue of tracking former prisoners has become current again as analysts assess the backgrounds of the five detainees released in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed Saturday in an elaborate swap with the Taliban. The sergeant was exchanged for five men who are considered by some critics of the deal to be at high risk of becoming involved in additional attacks against the United States and its allies.

"I am eager to learn what precise steps are being taken to ensure that these vicious and violent Taliban extremists never return to the fight," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Guantanamo transfers under scrutiny after deal with Taliban over release 06/02/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2014 10:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.
  5. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.