The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released its most recent statistics on Guantanamo recidivism this week. 208 former detainees are either confirmed or suspected of rejoining the jihad. 188 of them were transferred or released during the Bush administration and the remaining 20 by the Obama administration. The estimated number of recidivists has steadily climbed since 2008, when the government first provided statistics on this topic.
The US government has released an unclassified summary of Abu Zubaydah’s career. Some claim that Abu Zubaydah wasn’t really an al Qaeda member when he was detained in March 2002, but the newly released file alleges that he worked closely with multiple senior al Qaeda operatives and possibly had foreknowledge of the terror group’s three most successful attacks between August 1998 and September 2001.
A leaked Joint Task Force – Guantanamo threat assessment describes Haji Hamidullah, who was recently transferred from Guantanamo to the UAE, as an “agent” of Iran. The Long War Journal first profiled Hamidullah in 2011. The leaked JTF-GTMO file contains numerous intelligence reports tying Iranian intelligence to the Afghan insurgency.
The State Department has added a former Guantanamo detainee, Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov, to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. According to press reports, Vakhitov was recently arrested in connection with the terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. Also designated today is Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev, who leads the Islamic State’s forces in Chechnya.
The Department of Defense announced the transfer of Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab Al Rahabi to the Government of Montenegro. Joint Task Force Guantanamo, President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force, and a Periodic Review Board all previously deemed Rahabi too dangerous to transfer. A PRB cited his “possible” role in an aborted part of the 9/11 plot, but reversed its decision and eventually approved him for transfer.
Testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on the threat posed by jihadist groups in Africa.
In a video released earlier this month, the Taliban trumpeted the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban commanders who were held at Guantanamo. The Taliban says this “achievement” was the result of its extensive operations in Afghanistan’s Paktika province.
The Defense Department announced the transfer of nine Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia on April 16. The transferred detainees include a man who was allegedly one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards, the brother of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) current emir, and a jihadist the Obama administration determined was “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.”