Issues

Report: Released Gitmo Detainees Have Killed Americans in Afghanistan

Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay / Wikimedia Commons

Twelve detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have attacked U.S. and allied forces serving in Afghanistan, resulting in American casualties that left one civilian dead, according to reports this week.

The attacks occurred before 2009 by detainees who were released prior to 2008, USA Today reported Thursday.

A senior Pentagon official in March told lawmakers that former inmates of the Guantanamo military prison had killed Americans abroad, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the story. The Obama administration has since declined to comment publicly on the matter.

"While we won’t be able to discuss classified information, we take any incidence of reengagement very seriously," Army Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement to USA Today. "We work in close coordination through military, intelligence, law enforcement, and diplomatic channels to reduce the risk of reengagement and to take follow-on action when necessary."

The attacks by former detainees killed roughly a half-dozen Americans overseas. U.S. officials told the Washington Post that most of the attacks were directed at military personnel, but one 2008 incident left a female aid worker dead in Afghanistan.

Republican lawmakers slammed the revelations as further evidence that President Obama’s vow to shutdown Guantanamo Bay puts Americans in danger.

"Even one death is too many," said Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.). "There are 80 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay—the worst of the worst. Information regarding these transfers should be public, not hidden by unnecessary classification."

Sens. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and David Perdue (R., Ga.) introduced an amendment to the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would mandate a declassified intelligence review of the detainees eligible for transfer to assess past terrorist activities.

"Six Americans would still be alive today if those terrorists had stayed at Guantanamo Bay," Cotton said in a statement. "We not should not only keep Guantanamo Bay open, but also send more terrorists there for interrogation."

Nine of the twelve detainees who were suspected of carrying out the attacks are either dead or in foreign custody today, according to an official. All were released under the direction of former president George W. Bush.

Since taking office in 2009, Obama has transferred, resettled, or repatriated 147 detainees.