12:18 PM, Jan 25, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it won't be easy to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The outgoing Pentagon chief made the comments to NPR:
Can Obama keep his revised promise to close the Guantanamo facility before leaving office? "It's going to be very difficult," Hagel said, "especially if the Congress further restricts where these last 122 detainees go." Congress has already barred them from being sent to the United States.
NPR has more:
Hagel's resignation, never fully explained in public, was privately blamed on a variety of factors – one of them being White House frustration with his handling of Guantanamo. No detainee could be transferred out of the prison until Hagel certified that the prisoner would be placed in some other situation where he would not pose a threat to the United States. This was not easy to do.
In the NPR interview, Hagel said that transferring any detainee required action from many parts of the federal government. Diplomats, for example, had to find a country willing to receive each detainee, since there is no political appetite to allow them into the United States. Hagel added that he had a duty not to formally certify that any detainee could leave until there had been "substantial mitigation of risk of these individuals returning to the battlefield to threaten the United States or our people or our allies."
"Has there been a slowing of that [process], which hasn't always made me popular in some quarters? Yes," Hagel said.
"I've made that very clear to the president and to everyone, to the Congress: If it's my responsibility by law, which it is as secretary of defense, then I will do everything I can because the American people rely on that."
Of course, as NPR notes, Obama promised to close Gitmo as soon as he became president of the United States.
10:27 PM, Jan 14, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Department of Defense announced this evening that five more terrorists have been transferred from Guantanamo Bay. This time, four have been transferred to Oman and one to Estonia. Here's the press release announcing the release to Oman:
Detainee Transfer Announced
The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Al Khadr Abdallah Muhammad Al Yafi, Fadel Hussein Saleh Hentif, Abd Al-Rahman Abdullah Au Shabati, and Mohammed Ahmed Salam from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to Oman.
Dec 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 16 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
We don’t expect much. It’s been nearly six years. We’re long past the point of hoping that Barack Obama will adopt policies that deserve our grudging approval, if not enthusiastic endorsement, particularly on foreign policy and national security.
But we do expect something.
They weren’t kidnapped. They’re not refugees.Dec 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 16 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
On Sunday, December 7, a U.S. military medical aircraft landed in South America, to deliver six jihadists from the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay to Uruguay. For more than a dozen years, these six men had been held as dangerous enemies of the United States. Suddenly, Uruguay treated them as refugees, even victims, and the Obama administration didn’t object.
Jihadist Moazzam Begg, the Gitmo snitch
8:01 AM, Dec 17, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Ex-Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg is back in the news this week. On Sunday, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interviewed Begg to get his perspective on the recently released report, written by Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, concerning the CIA’s controversial interrogation program. Zakaria teased Begg’s segment at the beginning of his show, saying, “Moazzam Begg wants an apology. He was held in U.S. prisons and says he was abused and witnessed torture. What is his response to the report?
3:41 PM, Oct 10, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
House Speaker John Boehner has issued this statement in response to a press report indicating that the Obama administration might bring the Gitmo terrorists to America:
2:21 PM, Jun 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The War on Terror may be over but the warriors seem to be keeping busy. Which could mean that those already in captivity should be kept there and that space should be available as more are captured.
4:53 PM, Jun 9, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Did the detainees in Guantanamo Bay know about the transfer of five senior Taliban commanders before members of Congress?
5:35 PM, Jun 7, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
There is a concerted push to sanitize the records of four of the five Taliban leaders transferred from Guantanamo to Qatar. But before delving into some of the specifics, let us recount the basic facts.
Jun 16, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 38 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
“Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop. We don’t condition that. That’s what every mom and dad who sees a son or daughter sent over into [a] war theater should expect not just from their commander in chief but the United States of America. . . . The United States has always had a pretty sacred rule.
Jun 16, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 38 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
President Barack Obama and his advisers have long sought to release the five most dangerous Taliban commanders held in U.S. custody at Guantánamo. Bipartisan opposition scuttled a possible deal in 2012 because of a consensus that the “Taliban Five,” as they’ve come to be known, posed too great a threat. Even Senate Democrats were unwilling to go along with the administration’s plans then. But last week the president had the Taliban Five transferred to Qatar.
11:08 AM, Jun 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
At the White House press briefing Monday, Jay Carney was not asked directly about his statement from June 2013 that "we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance w
Taliban Hails 'Great Victory'6:42 AM, Jun 2, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, doesn’t make statements often. Omar is so reclusive that some have even speculated that he is either dead, or otherwise incapacitated in Pakistan.
3:42 PM, May 31, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The Obama administration announced today that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held by the Taliban for several years, has been freed from his captors.
7:07 AM, Mar 6, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The semi-annual report on "Re-engagement of Detainees Formerly Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba" was released on Wednesday