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Checkpoint Washington
Posted at 09:28 AM ET, 02/09/2012

House report criticizes Bush and Obama administrations on Guantanamo

Detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the watchful eyes of military police at Camp X-Ray inside Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during their processing into the temporary detention facility in this Jan. 11, 2002 file photo. (Handout - Reuters)
A report by House Republicans criticizes both the Bush and Obama administration for policies that led to the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba who later reengaged in terrorism or the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The report notes that “the Bush and Obama administrations, reacting to domestic political pressures and a desire to earn goodwill abroad, sought to reduce the GTMO population by sending detainees elsewhere.”

The unclassified report by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee was not signed by any Democrat; they issued a separate dissent.

The report “fails to comprehensively identify and assess the strategic-level conclusion by the national security professionals in both administrations that it is in the strategic and national security interests of the United States to transfer lower risk detainees out of GTMO as part of a process to close the facility,” the Democrats wrote.

The 93-page report reviews the efforts of both administrations to create review mechanisms that would allow them to reduce the population at Guantanamo, which since its opening has held 779 detainees.

There are currently 171 detainees at the facility, and no one has been transferred or repatriated in over a year because of Congressional restrictions.

The report repeated Defense Department statistics that 27 percent of former detainees are confirmed or suspected to have returned to terrorism or insurgent activities, a claim that is contested by some human rights groups who charge that the government’s method of counting is unclear.

The equivalent figure for just the Obama administration is about 7.5 percent, and two of the five who are confirmed or suspected of returning to terrorism or insurgent activities were ordered released by the courts.

The report said the Defense Department and the intelligence community should produce a report assessing the factors “causing or contributing to reengagement including a discussion of trends by country and region.”

By  |  09:28 AM ET, 02/09/2012

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