Later today, President Obama will address the National Defense University and is expected to initiate renewed efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and transfer accused jihadists back to their home countries — despite record-high Gitmo recidivism rates:
Officials told the Wall Street Journal that Obama will announce he is restarting an effort to transfer some Guantanamo prisoners out of the facility, although he is not expected to share details in the speech. Obama will also lift his ban on sending detainees to Yemen, which would make it possible to return at least 56 men to their home country once Secretary of Defense Hagel has signed national security waivers for the detainees, the Journal reported. While there are a handful of other detainees who could be ready for transfer shortly, the Yemenis are likely to wait for months as the administration negotiates with the Yemeni government over how to monitor the former prisoners.
“I hope he’ll address Guantanamo,” Elisa Massimino, President of Human Rights First, told MSNBC. If the president wants to prove he’s serious about making progress there, she said, “the executive branch has to stop laying blame at the feet of Congress” and take advantage of the powers it has to resume the transfer of prisoners out of Guantanamo. Obama could announce the appointment of a new special coordinator for closing the prison and transferring prisoners. In more than four years in office, the president has not had a Special Envoy tasked with closing Guantanamo. A state department official who worked on prisoner transfers was reassigned in January and has not been replaced.
Omar Farah at the Center for Constitutional Rights said he wanted to hear from the president that he was committed to an immediate resumption of transfers ”starting with the 86 men already cleared by his administration for release.” Farah, a staff attorney with the center’s Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative told MSNBC that “anything short of resuming transfers would be a great disappointment.”
Just last week, I reminded you that Obama’s pals at the Center for Constitutional Rights lobbied aggressively for the release of Gitmo recidivist Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a lead suspect in the Benghazi jihad attack who remains at large.
I’ve reported for years on Attorney General Eric Holder’s old law firm, Covington and Burling, which has represented at least 17 Yemeni Gitmo detainees.
And I’ve repeatedly noted the bloody Gitmo recidivism under both the Bush and Obama administrations, especially through the Yemen/Gitmo jihad revolving door.
Obama’s posture in the war on terror is clear: Retreat, retreat, retreat.
July 2007: More Gitmo catch-and-release
January 2009: Here’s your jihadi recidivism
December 2009: Obama brings the Gitmolympics home
December 2009: Yemen, Gitmo, and jihadi revolving doors
January 2010: Jihadi revolving doors, Pt. 999
October 2012: The Deadly Disgrace of Obama’s Pro-Terrorist Lawyers