WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump criticized the return of 122 jihadists released from the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to jihadist activity on Twitter Tuesday, blaming his predecessor Barack Obama.
According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), 122 former Guantánamo detainees released under both former Presidents George W. Bush (113) and Obama (9) were confirmed to have returned to terrorism as of mid-July 2016.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the discrepancy.
122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2017
On Tuesday, President Trump wrote on Twitter, “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!”
According to the U.S. intelligence community’s latest assessment, titled “Summary of the Reengagement of Detainees Formerly Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” at least 122 former detainees held at the Guantánamo facility are confirmed to have returned to the battlefield and 86 are suspected of doing.
The ODNI report revealed that the total 693 jihadists transferred out of the prison under both Obama and Bush as of mid-July 2016 include 208 terrorists who were either confirmed (122) or suspected (86) of returning to terrorist activities.
Of the total 208 former prisoners confirmed or suspected to have re-engaged in jihadist activities, Bush released 188 and Obama 20.
Taken all together, an estimated 30 percent of all prisoners released from Guantánamo facility, known as Gitmo, are confirmed (122) or suspected (86) to have returned to terrorism.
On Monday, the Pentagon revealed that a U.S. airstrike carried out against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen took out a former Gitmo prisoner released by the Obama administration in 2009: Yasir al-Silmi.
Moreover, at least two former Guantánamo prisoners from the United Kingdom, including one released under former President Bush, were recently determined to have joined the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda, respectively.
Abu-Zakariya al-Britani, reportedly released from Gitmo in 2004, carried out a suicide attack on behalf of ISIS last month that targeted a U.S.-backed Iraqi army base near Mosul, Iraq.
Less than a week later, the Sunday Times reported that another British jihadist, identified as using the pseudonym Abu Mugheera al-Britani, is believed to have joined terrorists linked to al-Qaeda in Syria.
The report did not say when the United States released Abu Mugheera from Gitmo.
Nevertheless, the Sunday Times pointed that former Russian Guantánamo prisoner Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov re-engaged in jihadist operations after his release in 2004.
Before leaving office, former President Obama released Gitmo detainees who threatened to behead and bomb Americans, the Daily Mail reported.
In March 2016, Paul Lewis, the special envoy for Obama’s failed plan to shut down the Guantánamo detention center, confirmed to lawmakers that prisoners released from the facility have killed Americans, but would not say whether the incidents occurred before or after President Obama was elected.
Although Obama vowed to shut down the prison, 41 prisoners remained there at the end of his term, down from the 242 there when he took office.
Nevertheless, former President Bush released more detainees (532) from Gitmo than Obama.