Washington (CNN) - The United States still intends to send some Yemeni detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility back to Yemen despite a terrorist threat there, President Barack Obama's terrorism czar said Sunday.
John Brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the failed Christmas Day terror attack on a U.S. airliner doesn't change the plan to close the Guantanamo facility.
On Saturday, Obama linked the airline bombing suspect to an al Qaeda affiliate based in Yemen.
Brennan called the failed attack on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan a "unique incident" that won't affect the process of closing the Guantanamo facility.
"We are making sure that we don't do anything that's going to put Americans at risk," Brennan said.
About half of the roughly 200 detainees still held at Guantanamo Bay would be prosecuted in the United States by federal courts or military tribunals. Some would be sent to third countries, including Yemenis returned to their home nation, Brennan said.
The United States is working with the Yemeni government to make sure "the situation on the ground is taken into account," Brennan said.
"We're going to do this the right way at the right time," he said.
Closing the Guantanamo facility is necessary because al Qaeda and others have used it as a propaganda tool against the United States, Brennan said.
Most congressional Republicans oppose closing the Guantanamo facility, and some Democrats and independents said Sunday that no detainees should be sent to Yemen due to the terrorist network operating there.
"It would be irresponsible to take any of the Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo and send them back to Yemen," Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who belongs to the Democratic caucus, said on the ABC program "This Week."
Updated: 10:52 a.m.
Have these people lost their mind? Let me translate this for you lefties: this is like W allowing the Enron criminals to be on the board at the NY Stock Exchange.
This is insanity!
The terrorist attack (however successful) on Christmas Day was "a unique incident?"
We are still closing Guantanamo?
We are sending the "detainees" to YEMEN, where we can't even keep an embassy open?
What drug are these people running our government taking? I don't think it's just–started to say marijuana, but will guess they say hash.
Iran is giving the West, which we lead, ULTIMATUMS about their nuclear ambitions?
Obama is taking the sun?
Send all the gitmos to yemen so they can help train more terrorist? Whose side is obama on? Seems like he likes the terrorist more than WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Wheres the common since to turn loose people that are going to rejoin an anti American fighting force Gitmo needs to remain open and needs to continue to be used .
Good. That way they will be in the area they need to get their terrorism training. They won't have to pay any transportation costs. Far be it from the US Government to inconvenience anyone.
Wow these guys either don't get it or don't care.
We are too scared of A
It is time to use some constructive paranoia: one could make a very good argument that these actions regarding homeland security represent a plan by the elected government to cause the end of the United States of Amer–well, of course. It is.
If they "spread the wealth around" enough, that will also achieve the same result.
IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP.
Blatantly stupid decisions proudly defended to an unquestioning press.
Wow these guys either don't get it or don't care.
We are closing our embasy in Yeman because AQ is too active there (our embasy is open in Pakistand and Afganistan though) BUT we are going release more terrorists there for some twisted liberal idea that closing gitmo will make everyone like us.
maybe we need a leader that is less interisted in prizes and snowcones?
I don't think I know everything about the detainees. On the surface it looks as if they have some connection with enemies of the U.S. So why make it easy for them by sending them back to places where they can get help of any kind. They should be held back for a long, long time, until this Hot war with al Qaeda cools down .
I can't even think of the words that could adequately describe this administrations lack of good sense. There is no doubt that these great, expert "czars" that we have been blessed to have along with our first socialist president will actually have real American blood on their hands. These "detainees" that I am sure have been wrongly imprisoned for so long will most assuredly rejoin their "peaceful muslim" brothers to righteously kill our daughters, wives, brothers and husbands just so this administration can massage some political need to close a place that serves to protect us rather than harm our cause. The continuing denial that these people will seek to kill us no matter what is at best childish and at worst criminal beyond all other explanation. May God protect us through this dangerous and completely unecessary time of risk. 2012 can't come soon enough. This guy is making an idiot like Bush look like a genius.
I believe that all the detainees should be returned to thier country of origin. Drop them sans parachutes from 7500 ft. Martyred in a most splendid and spectacular fashion. That would wow thier harem of beautiful virgins.
Is there any doubt that this is far and away the WORST ADMINSTRATION EVER!!!
Give me a break. Barry is the most incompetent, inbecile to ever occupy the White House. He is making Bush look like Einstein.
"Closing the Guantanamo facility is necessary because al Qaeda and others have used it as a propaganda tool against the United States," Brennan said.
REALLY? So we've promised the terrorists to close Gitmo, yet they're stepping up their terrorist attacks . . . great work!
Its A damd good thing that these same people wasnt in charge during the German and Japan war .
I agree with the previous comments. Wonder where the Obama supporters are. They must have gone to Hawaii with him. Guess that we are seeing the real Obama.
Wow. I can't believe....wow. Words escape me when I read this.
Why not kill all the detainee ! 200 is almost the number we would have lost if the bombing was successful. Other than continue to feed and house our declared enemies on the beach,lets kill them......
Mr. Brennan did not say the prisoners are leaving tomorrow. He did say they will look carefully at the situation before releasing prisoners.
This latest attempt is very similar to Richard Reed's attempt. People will slip through. Human beings are not perfect. It only takes one or two people to drop the ball at the lowest levels.
Instead of pointing fingers let's support our leaders and give them the backing they need to do the job.
Its absolute stupidity to send detainees to Yemen where there is a large al qaeda concentration; but I would expect no less from our government.
Another useless Head of Dept of Obama's trying to cover O's butt.
By the way, Obama didn't determine anything about the Christmas Day terror "suspect's" link to Al Qaeda. The President is not Sherlock Holmes, and he's not hired to do that kind of work.
Attempting to hype him as the fountainhead of all right-thinking, truth, and scientific process will still not render him the messiah.
I guess Brennan thinks all Americans are as stupid as the Democrats.
Utter insanity. Is there any chance that these terrorists (being exported back to their own terrorist bases) could get added to the "no fly list"???
Jeremy–I know you mean well–but you underestimated the number of casualties–How many people were in the airport area where the plane would have gone down in Detroit?–Thousands! way worse than 9/11.........? Thank God for the "flying dutchman"–he has not been given near enough credit for an heroic act......He is the first one Obama should have thanked...