A Defense Department official has finally admitted – reluctantly – that Americans have been killed by detainees released from Guantanamo Bay.
The stark admission came from Paul Lewis, the Pentagon’s special envoy for Guantanamo detention closure, who was testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee regarding the Obama administration’s plans to close the prison.
During an exchange with Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, Lewis confessed that “Unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of (Guantanamo) detainees.”
Via CBS News:
Americans have been killed by prisoners released from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a senior Defense Department official told lawmakers Wednesday, triggering sharp criticism from Republicans opposed to shuttering the facility in the wake of deadly attacks by the Islamic State group in Brussels and Paris.
Paul Lewis, the Pentagon’s special envoy for Guantanamo detention closure, declined to provide the GOP-led House Foreign Affairs Committee with details. He would not say whether the incidents occurred before or after President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.
“What I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of (Guantanamo) detainees,” Lewis said during an exchange with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.
“When anybody dies, it is tragedy and we don’t want anybody to die because we transfer detainees,” Lewis said.
One Gitmo detainee released by the Obama administration in 2012, Ibrahim Qosi, appeared in a propaganda film for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an organization for which he had become a leader. He and his fellow commanders discussed their time waging jihad in the video.
But hey, that’s the kind of chance you take in situations like this according to Lewis. In fact, the loss of American lives is a calculated risk that the Obama administration is willing to take in their quest to close Gitmo.
“When anybody dies, it’s a tragedy, and we don’t want anybody to die because we transfer detainees,” Lewis said. “However, it’s the best judgment and the considered judgment of this administration and the previous administration that the risk of keeping Gitmo open is outweighed — that we should close Gitmo.”
Rohrabacher responded “As far as I’m concerned, if one child is saved because she would have been blown up by someone who’s been released, it’s better to keep all 90 of those people in Gitmo.”
He then said he was “disgusted” by Lewis admission that Gitmo detainees had killed Americans, and President Obama still wants to release more terrorists.
We should all be disgusted. Are you?
Cross-posted at The Political Insider