1 in 3 Freed Gitmo Detainees Returns to Violence

In some cases with dire results

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 4, 2014 4:59 PM CDT

(Newser) – Just how dangerous was the Obama administration's move to swap five Guantanamo detainees for Bowe Bergdahl? It's hard to say, but as of January roughly 29% of the 614 Guantanamo detainees released so far had returned to the fight, the Wall Street Journal reports, based on Director of National Intelligence figures. CNN offers a little more nuance to that figure, noting that only about 100 (16.6%) have been "confirmed" as returning to "terrorist activities," while another 70 are suspected of doing so.

In some cases, that's had dire consequences. The Journal details the story of three Moroccan militants who wound up forming a vicious militant group in Syria, spearheading a major massacre of religious minorities last August. Two have since died, and their deaths brought outpourings of militant grief. "It's like if a famous singer dies," one member of their group said. "They were in Guantanamo, defying America." Still, CNN notes that the numbers are low compared to the 50-60% recidivism rate for inmates released from normal US prisons. The specific prisoners swapped for Bergdahl were mostly detained early in the Afghan war based on their association with the Taliban regime, rather than with al-Qaeda—though some allegedly had "directly associated" with Osama bin Laden.

Camp X-Ray, the first detention facility for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who were captured after the Sept. 11 attacks, at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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