The Obama administration believes everybody – even terrorists – deserve a second chance.So it comes as no surprise that up to 30 former detainees at the Guantanamo prison facility who have been released in the last three years have joined anti-Assad Islamist groups in Syria – including Islamic State.
The development has cemented fears that the U.S. military would once again encounter militants taken off the battlefield.
The intelligence offers a mixed picture, and officials say the figures are not exact. But they are certain at least some of the released detainees are fighting with the Islamic State, or ISIS, on the ground inside Syria. Others are believed to be supporting Al Qaeda or the affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria.
A number of former detainees also have chosen to help these groups from outside the country, financing operations and supporting their propaganda campaigns.
Sources who spoke to Fox News were not able to provide the identities of the fighters.
Senior Defense and intelligence officials say the vast majority of detainees released from Guantanamo don’t return to the fight — and of those who do, relatively few have made it to Syria.
Of the 620 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, 180 have returned or are suspected to have returned to the battlefield.
Of those 180, sources say 20 to 30 have either joined ISIS or other militants groups in Syria, or are participating with these groups from outside countries. Officials say most of those 20 to 30 are operating inside Syria.
The development underscores just one of many long-running complications for efforts to shutter Guantanamo Bay, a promise President Obama made within hours of taking the oath of office in 2009.
Nearly six years later, that effort has run aground, complicated by problems with relocating prisoners, by concerns about fighters returning to the battlefield and by Congress’ resistance to allowing any to be detained on the U.S. mainland.
If 180 of 620 have returned to to the fight, that means a recidivism rate of a little less than 30% – an unacceptable number under any circumstances. At the moment, they aren’t apparently causing us much trouble, although that may change the more involved we get in Syria.
We were told that all those released from Gitmo were not a threat. Is anyone surprised that was a lie? And by the way, has anyone seen the 5 major terrorists we exchanged for Pvt. Bergdahl? They were supposed to be monitored and kept track of. And while we’re on the subject, what about the deserter? When are they going to release the report on their investigation?
It’s easy to see this administration’s anti terrorism policy. They don’t have one.