Fmr. NATO Cmdr: I Have ‘Great Concern’ Over ‘Real Risk’ Guantanamo Bay Releases

Admiral James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, said that he has “great concern” over the Obama administration releasing detainees from Guantanamo Bay that he argued were “seriously bad actors” and posed “a real risk” on Friday’s broadcast of “The Lead” on CNN.

“I have great concern about it [the releases]. And let’s just kind of do the numbers. At one time, we had 800 detainees, that was reduced, and we got rid of all of the even marginal cases. We’re down in the hundred or so range. These are seriously bad actors. I think releasing any of them, given a recidivism rate of probably 20% to 30%, is a real risk. This is not the moment to be doing that” he stated.

Earlier, he stated “I think we’re going to see a wave of this [terrorist attacks and disruptions of terror cells], Jake, and it is simply the result of a lot of tension that’s been building in the system, a lot of financing that is going into it, and frankly, the rise of this ungoverned state in Syria and Iraq, which is permitting, not only training, but a great deal of cash to flow into the system. So, our law enforcement officials need to lean forward. This is the time to be pressing the gas on these surveillance programs. It is also the time for cooperation. We’re fighting a network of terrorists, and we have to fight as though we were a network, that means full cooperation at every level.”

Stavridis explained, “I think there are two things at work here. One is the catalyst of ISIS, which has created a very inspirational brand, and then the second thing is a kind of a terrible competition between al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which I think you’re seeing them each trying to top each other in these actions, and that results in them wanting to release the horses that have been kept in the barn. They’ve got the funding, they’ve got the inspirational activities underway from their perspective, and I think we are in for a rough ride over the next few months, Jake.”

Stavridis also discussed whether Brussels, Belgium was more of a hotbed for Islamic terror than the rest of Europe, he declared “I think it is, Jake. Just for the same reason that NATO is in Belgium, which is that it’s centrally located, you border on France, on Germany, on the Netherlands, a short hop across the English Channel, it’s a nexus, it’s a hub. And so, as a result, you see a great deal of radical Islamic preaching going on here as these jihadis come back, it’s a very convenient, centrally located place.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett