U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and an ardent supporter of the U.S. detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO), today pointed to former GITMO detainee Sufian bin Qumu's reported involvement in the Libyan attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens as proof that GITMO must remain open and active.
"Sufian bin Qumu is a perfect example of why GITMO is such a valuable asset in the War on Terror," said Inhofe. "Far too many detainees, like Qumu, have been released to other countries for continued detention simply because of political pressure. President Obama is determined to keep his campaign promise to close GITMO. That is why I have continued to oppose this administration's effort to either close GITMO or transfer detainees to U.S. soil. I have also opposed the transfer of high risk detainees to other countries where they can be released and return to the fight against Americans. That is exactly what happened with Qumu.
"Qumu had known and admitted ties to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, we knew that he was tied to the financier of the 9/11 attacks, we knew that he posed a continuing threat to our nation and our allies, and the Libyan government knew he was dangerous and capable of leading terrorist attacks. We released him anyway with the agreement that he would remain incarcerated. Yet, in violation of the agreement of his transfer, Omar Qadaffi released him. It is a classic example of why, once a detainee is no longer under our control, they can easily return to the fight.
"It is time that we wake up and realize that these individuals will stop at nothing to do us harm."
Inhofe has been a constant leader in passing legislation that prevents the Obama administration from transferring terrorist detainees to the U.S. for continued detention or trial. Inhofe has repeatedly visited GITMO to view the facility and receive first-hand briefings. After leading a Congressional Delegation trip to GITMO in 2011, he authored S. 1046 that would require each high-value enemy combatant who is captured or otherwise taken into long-term custody by the United States be detained at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (GTMO) at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Not one single terrorist detainee has been transferred to GITMO under President Obama.
The United States has detained almost 800 Al-Qaeda and Taliban combatants at GITMO. Over 600 detainees have been tried, transferred or released from GITMO for other countries.
In March 2012, the Director of National Intelligence released a report that stated over 160 transferred or released GITMO detainees, or 28 percent of those released, are suspected or confirmed to have returned to fight. The recidivism rate in 2009 was 14 percent.
Intelligence gathered from GITMO has foiled at least 40 of the 52 terror plots that have been prevented since 9/11. Information gathered at GITMO was also a key in leading the U.S. to Osama bin Laden.