The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released its latest statistics on the number of former Guantanamo detainees who are either confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight. As expected, there has been a slight increase in the number of ex-detainees who have rejoined the jihad.
The ODNI says that a total of 196 ex-Gitmo detainees, or 30 percent of the 653 total detainees transferred or released, are now either confirmed or suspected of reengaging. The number of confirmed recidivists (117) outnumbers those on the suspected list (79). The figures are current as of July 15, 2015.
For an ex-Gitmo inmate to be considered a “confirmed” recidivist, a “preponderance of information…identifies a specific former GTMO detainee as directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities.” For those in the “suspected” category, “[p]lausible but unverified or single-source reporting indicat[es] a specific former GTMO detainee is directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities.”
In the past, administration officials have argued that a significant number of the recidivists have been taken out of the game once again. But a look at the newly released numbers shows that most of the ex-detainees on the list are at large.
The ODNI’s figures show that 122 of the ex-detainees (62 percent of the total) who are confirmed or suspected of rejoining the fight are “not in custody,” with the remaining 74 being either dead or in custody.
The ODNI’s latest summary also reveals that (on net) 11 additional ex-Gitmo detainees have been added to the recidivist list in the first seven months of this year. As of January, the ODNI included 185 former detainees in its summary statistics, as compared to the 196 in the current tally.
A comparison of the two lists reveals that (on net) 10 of the newly added 11 ex-detainees were placed in the suspected recidivists category, with five being transferred during the Bush administration and the other five during Obama’s tenure. However, the overwhelming majority of the recidivists (184 out of 196) were transferred during the Bush administration.
The “reengagement” statistics do not include former detainees who are actively spreading anti-American propaganda, but who are not suspected of committing other acts. In addition, intelligence officials contacted by THE WEEKLY STANDARD in the past have explained that the US does not know what numerous other ex-detainees are currently doing.
The number of former detainees on the ODNI’s list has grown significantly since 2008.
In June 2008, the Department of Defense reported that 37 former detainees were “confirmed or suspected” of returning to the fight. On January 13, 2009, a Pentagon spokesman said that number had climbed to 61. As of April 2009, the DoD found that same metric had risen further to 74. More than six years later, that figure has nearly tripled to 196.