President Donald Trump is slamming his predecessor, Barack Obama, over his decision to release detainees from Guantanamo Bay, saying many of them have “returned to the battlefield.”
“122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
The President’s figure is correct. His attribution, however, is wrong.
Trump provided no evidence to support his claim and did not indicate his reason for making it.
But on Monday, the Pentagon announced that a recent airstrike against al Qaeda in Yemen killed a former inmate, Yasir al Silmi, who was released during Obama’s presidency. And shortly before the President tweeted Tuesday morning, a “Fox and Friends” segment mentioned the 122 figure.
The segment, however, did not attribute the source of the 122 figure and did not lay the blame squarely at Obama’s feet for the alleged activities of the 122 prisoners released.
That’s probably because a July 15, 2016, report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which tracks recidivism among former inmates, found that most of the 122 ex-detainees who the US government believes have re-engaged in “terrorist or insurgent” activity since they were released from the prison were let out before Obama’s presidency began.
Of the 532 released prisoners prior to Obama’s presidency, the director of national intelligence describes 113 of them as being confirmed to have re-engaged in terrorism, with an additional 75 suspected of doing so, said the report, which was publicly released in September. Of the 161 inmates released between when Obama took office in January 2009 and July 2016, nine are described as having returned to supporting terror groups. An additional 11 are “suspected” of having gone back to terrorist activity, the report said.
Any of these numbers fall far short of Trump’s 122.
Because Trump only blames the Obama administration for the 122 former inmates who “returned to the battlefield” despite the majority of them being released prior to Obama taking office, we rate Trump’s claim to be false.
CNN’s Tom Kludt contributed to this report.