A recent tweet by President Donald Trump called into question the practice of releasing detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The President expressed his concern that the U.S. was releasing enemies of the State, who could then take up the cause of terrorism again, conceivably against the United States.
Here's what the March 7th tweet said:
"122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!"
Our partners at PolitiFact Florida looked into President Trump's claim to see if it was accurate. PolitiFact reporter Allison Graves says that President Trump's Twitter claim rates MOSTLY FALSE on the Truth-O-Meter. Graves says that the release, for the most part, is being incorrectly misattributed.
"We took a look at the numbers from Guantanamo," said Graves. "What we found was that, of the 700 detainees that have been released after being held at Guantanamo Bay since it opened in 2002, about 122 were confirmed to have re-entered into terrorism or terrorism-related events in some way."
Graves says that the sticking point with the claim is over exactly who did the releasing. "Of the 122 detainees in question, 113 were released under President George W. Bush, not President Barack Obama," said Graves. "If the attribution had been left off of the claim, we would most certainly be talking about a different rating."
Even though the number was correct, the attribution was incorrect, which led a rating of MOSTLY FALSE on PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter.
SOURCES: Released prisoners returning to terrorism?
- PolitiFact ruling
- ODNI, "Summary of the Reengagement of Detainees Formerly Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," September 2016
- PolitiFact, "How many released Guantanamo Bay prisoners commit new terrorist acts?" Jan. 25, 2017
- PolitiFact, "McCain: 30% of past Guantanamo detainees 're-enter the fight'," Jan. 13, 2015
- Miami Herald, "Trump blames wrong president for most Guantánamo ‘back to battlefield’ releases," March 7, 2017
- New York Times, "U.S. Air Campaign in Yemen Killed Guantánamo Ex-Prisoner," March 6, 2017
- New America Foundation, "How dangerous are Freed Guantanamo Prisoners?" June 5, 2014