The Obama administration's special envoy for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center confirmed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday that Americans have been killed by released prisoners.
The Associated Press reports that the Pentagon's Paul Lewis stood before the majority-Republican committee and said:
What I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of [released] detainees.
When anybody dies, it is tragedy and we don't want anybody to die because we transfer detainees.
Lewis would not say whether any of the incidents happened before or after President Obama took office, the report notes. But an anonymous official at the White House was more eager to claim that it definitely happened under George W. Bush's presidency, though he wasn't "authorized to speak publicly."
President Bush released more prisoners during his administration than Obama has, but a number of released detainees under both administrations returned to the battlefield. As TruthRevolt recently reported, prisoners released under Obama have returned to fighting at double the rate over the six months through January 2016.
Opponents of Gitmo complain that the facility is used as a recruiting tool for terrorists and should be closed to hinder ISIS from gaining future fighters. The State Department also has a special envoy designated for Gitmo's closure, Lee Wolosky, and he believes there is no question that the good from its closure far outweighs the bad:
There are unfortunately going to be acts of terrorism, probably whether the facility is opened or closed. The proper analysis is, "What are the risks of keeping it open in light of the very obvious use of that facility as a propaganda tool," which, frankly, you should not have to question.
Others see Gitmo as a place to hold terror suspects as a sure way to know they aren't going to kill Americans as some have promised after release.
The AP has the latest numbers on current detainees:
There are 91 men held at Guantanamo, down from nearly 250 when Obama assumed the presidency. Those left include 36 who are cleared for release if security conditions can be met in the countries where they will settle. Seven face trial by military commission, including five charged with planning and supporting the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. Three others have been convicted.