US & Canada

Reality Check: Who released the Guantanamo re-offenders?

Donald Trump saying: 122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield

The claim: One hundred and twenty-two prisoners freed by President Obama from Guantanamo Bay engaged in "terrorist or insurgent activities" after their release.

Reality Check verdict: All but nine of the 122 released prisoners the US says were involved in "terrorist or insurgent activities" after leaving Guantanamo were not freed by Obama but by his predecessor, George W Bush.

President Donald Trump tweeted on 7 March to criticise former President Obama's administration for releasing 122 prisoners from "Gitmo", a shorthand for the US-run Guantanamo Bay detention centre, who "returned to the battlefield".

The detention facility, opened in 2002 to detain terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan, is part of a US naval base in south-eastern Cuba.

At least every six months, the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who oversees the US intelligence community, publishes details of how many former Guantanamo Bay prisoners are "confirmed or suspected of returning to terrorist activities after release or transfer". The DNI defines those activities as planning or financing terrorist operations, conducting an attack and recruiting others for terrorist activities.

According to the most recent published statistics, dated 15 July 2016, 122 former detainees are confirmed to have directly been involved in terrorist or insurgent activities after they have been transferred out of Guantanamo.

However, only nine out of the 122 were transferred after 22 January 2009, when Barack Obama took office. The rest - 113 - were released by his Republican predecessor, President George W Bush.


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