“We are not going to close Guantanamo. In fact, we shouldn’t be releasing the people that are there now. They are enemy combatants. These are literally enemy combatants, in essence soldiers — not soldiers, terrorists of foreign terrorist organizations. Many of whom, as soon as you release them, they rejoin the fight against us.”

–Marco Rubio, speech during rally in Las Vegas, Feb. 23, 2016

Rubio blasted President Obama’s plan to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by repeating one of his favorite lines about recidivism among ex-detainees. We’ve found Rubio’s claim to be worthy of Two Pinocchios.

Actually, Office of the Director of National Intelligence records show six out of 121 detainees (five percent) released since Obama became president were found to have re-engaged in militant activity, as of July 2015.

Rubio clearly has a rather expansive definition of the word “many.”

Another six are suspected of “suspected re-engaging,” defined as “plausible but unverified or single-source reporting indicating a specific former GTMO detainee is directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities. For the purposes of this definition, engagement in anti-US statements or propaganda does not qualify as terrorist or insurgent activity.”

Most of the former detainees were released under the George W. Bush administration. Further, 184 of 196 (94 percent) ex-detainees confirmed or suspected of reengaging were released under the Bush administration.

The number of prisoners at Guantanamo peaked at 679 in mid-2003. It dropped to 174 by late 2010. Currently, there are 91 detainees and 35 of them are expected to be transferred out by the summer.

The Fact Checker Recidivism Watch tracks politicians who repeat claims that we have previously found to be incorrect or false. These posts are short summaries of previous findings, with links to the original fact-check. We welcome reader suggestions.

Send us facts to check by filling out this form

Sign up for The Fact Checker weekly newsletter