Earlier this week it was reported that President Obama agreed to free five detainees from the United States’ Guantanamo Bay military prison in exchange for imprisoned United States soldier Bowe Bergdahl.
While this exchange may open up the possibility of new threats to United States national security, the President assured skeptics that the United States is working with the government of Qatar to keep the freed men under surveillance.
Said the President at a news conference in Poland, “In terms of potential threats, the release of the Taliban who were being held in Guantanamo was conditioned on the Qataris keeping eyes on them.”
While this sounds like a decent plan, it does not change the fact that freed Guantanamo prisoners are returning to violent and terroristic activities at an alarming rate.
Just this week, CNN posted some startling statistics on prisoners freed from Guantanamo Bay. At its peak, Guantanamo Bay was host to 770 prisoners. Today, there are 154 detainees at the military prison. While some have died at the prison, roughly 600 men have been freed and sent back to their home countries.
Of the estimated 600 prisoners who have been freed from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, 100 have returned to fighting for certain, while an estimated 70 are suspected of having reverted back to violence. This means that somewhere between 25% and 30% of freed Guantanamo detainees return to violence.
All of the men freed this week have been imprisoned for over a dozen years. It is the hope of the current administration that these men have been out of the picture for long enough that they will not have many connections to terrorism in their home countries.
While it is impossible to say for certain, the statistics tell us that it is more than probable that at least one of the five men freed in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl will return to terroristic activity.