President Barack Obama talked about Gitmo prisoners today and said, "I don't want these individuals to die."
"For a lot of Americans, the notion is out of sight, out of mind," Obama said, after referring to his failed attempt to close the terrorist prison. "It's easy to demagogue the issue. That's what happened the first time this came up. I'm going to go back at it because I think it's important."
White House spokesman Jay Carney took a minute before his press briefing today to reflect. "I want to welcome you to the first full day of the President’s second term. It’s a tremendous honor and privilege to be here working for this President and for the country," the former Time magazine journalist said.
Four years ago today, on January 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed "EXECUTIVE ORDER -- REVIEW AND DISPOSITION OF INDIVIDUALS DETAINED AT THE GUANTÁNAMO BAY NAVAL BASE AND CLOSURE OF DETENTION FACILITIES." In particular, the executive order stated:
The White House revealed yesterday that there "approximately 166 detainees at Guantanamo Bay" right now. The news was in Obama's "war powers resolution" letter, which is meant "to keep the Congress informed about deployments of U.S. Armed Forces equipped for combat."
Omar Khadr has been sent from Guantanamo to Canada, after returning from the jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Khadr is slated to stay in custody for the time being. It is difficult to think of a more mythologized figure in the post-9/11 war on terror. For the worldwide left, Khadr has become a symbol of all that is supposedly wrong with America’s fight against the al Qaeda terror network. He is now, in many minds, a victim. For one Canadian magazine, Omar Khadr is even a Christ-like figure.
At the Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz has a piece about Jose Rodriguez, the former chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Rodriguez warns that the CIA is “out of the business” of interrogating senior al Qaeda terrorists and this will eventually lead to a hole in America’s counterterrorism efforts, if it hasn’t already. Time will tell if Rodriguez is right. The Obama administration is betting that he isn’t, and that by killing select al Qaeda leaders in drone strikes the terrorist threat is fully neutralized. There are significant problems with the Obama administration’s approach, even absent the prickly debate over interrogations.
Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center and National Clandestine Service, has made quite a splash in the past couple of days. Building on arguments in his new book, Hard Measures, Rodriguez has dealt with all of the most controversial aspects of the CIA’s response to 9/11 in his television appearances and op-eds. In particular, Rodriguez has offered a spirited defense of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) used on senior al Qaeda operatives.
Terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), credited with being instrumental in al Qaeda carrying out the 9/11 attacks, will be tried along with other high-level terrorists by a military commission, the Defense Department announced today. The arraignment will take place "at [the] Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within 30 days of service of the referred charges upon them," according to a press release from the Department of Defense.
The Obama administration’s fantasyland attempt at talks with the Taliban took another significant blow on Thursday. In a statement released online, Mullah Omar’s organization announced that it “has decided to suspend all talks with Americans taking place in Qatar from today onwards until the Americans clarify their stance on the issues concerned and until they show willingness in carrying out their promises instead of wasting time.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released new summary statistics on the recidivism of former Guantanamo detainees. 167 ex-Gitmo detainees are now either “confirmed” or “suspected” of reengaging in “terrorist or insurgent activities” after their release, according to the ODNI’s latest estimate.