January 3rd, 2010
10:52 AM ET
4 years ago

Brennan: Some Guantanamo detainees will go to Yemen

John Brennan, an adviser to the president on counter-terrorism, said the Obama administration still intends to send some Guantanamo detainees back to Yemen despite a terrorist threat there.
John Brennan, an adviser to the president on counter-terrorism, said the Obama administration still intends to send some Guantanamo detainees back to Yemen despite a terrorist threat there.

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.

soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. Dimslie

    Well, Chris answered my first question in the affirmative. There really is someone who thinks we can solve the problem by closing Gitmo and sending the terrorists home. Anyone want to answer the second? Someone had to join Chris on that one.

    January 3, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Allan

    I love the post from CBR saying we should support our leaders. I have a better plan. I plan to support the United States by voting the current batch of moron "leaders" out beginning in 2010 with people who support American freedoms by treating the idiot terrorists like war criminals.

    I would then hope we can get a government that can keep the rabble out instead of continuously finding ways of eroding citizens freedoms by pandering to us with security theater. I hope we profile people because I have yet to see a Caucasian granny try to blow up an airliner.

    I hope all the lefties get to whine when all their morons get voted out, because it seems like the American people are waking up to the Obama agenda and are rightfully scared.

    January 3, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Mike

    I support closing Gitmo, but think we should suspend releasing prisoners to Saudi Arabia and Yemen until we review how the past decisions where made. If someone was imprisoned by miskate, they should be released. If the prisoner is to be tried by another government, that might be OK. No one should be released to S.A.'s rehabilitation program.

    Gitmo has become a symbol around the world of American abuse of power. We should be able to hold all POWs on our soil until al Qaeda surrenders whether or not they have committed a specific crime. Al Qaeda declared war or us.

    January 3, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. No Longer Hopeful in America

    Wow...I read these comments and fear that Americans have become so filled with hate-driven partisanship that there is little hope for the survival of our democracy.

    A democracy requires rational debate among educated people. That quality is not evident on this site.

    America is deteriortating intoa tribal view of the world. "Kill 'em all and impeach the president" ??? Is the ability to insult all that remains of the intellectual capacity of the Americans who built this great nation?

    January 3, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. Jean

    If the prophycies of the bible are correct about what signs will show when Armagedon is about to happen, does Obama believe he will not be affected because he has been "turning the other cheek"?

    January 3, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Brock Bauer

    I completely agree with liberals are worthless, not for his name but because our current administration is junk and Bush and Cheney were the best since Regan.

    January 3, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. Adam

    Worst...idea...ever.

    I cannot imagine what this nation will be like with 3 more years of Barry and his cronies.

    January 3, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. Honest Citizen

    The current administration is HE** – BENT on the destruction of the United States. He is a Muslim born in a foreign nation given this power by FOOLS listening and believing to his lies and propaganda. Your continual backing is weighting down those of us wanting to better the US and bring jobs BACK to this nation instead of selling out those of us who truly are and have been trying to do good for every citizen of this country.

    January 3, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    All of you conservatives who are complaining about "liberal agendas" and whatnot amuse and scare me. First, the entire country complains about Gitmo and deciding we should close it down. Then, conservatives freak out because the government starts looking at places in America where these inmates can legally wait out a fair trial. Now, when the governments' proverbial hands are tied, since no one seems to like either decision as to where to send the detainees, they are deeming to send them back to their home countries. Really, where did you think they were going to be sent?

    And no, Warmongering Conservatives, killing them is NOT the answer, nor will it ever be the answer. Violence begets violence; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Or did you not read that part of your bibles close enough?

    January 3, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. Proud Democrat

    So, we are going to send them right back to the place where they trained and practiced various ways to attack and hurt us.......so that they can go back for more training, so that they can perfect their methods and get it right next time?

    That is just crazy.

    Washington and this administration clearly lacks one thing that most of us have COMMON SENSE..........

    Their lack of intelligence and sensibility in this issue is putting this nation and it's people in serious risk.

    You know when I saw President Obama's inauguration I was so excited.....now I am so disappointed at how badly he is handling the issues of our nation.

    I hope things change soon, we can not continue to sustain such blunders without paying for it sooner or later.

    January 3, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. Artie

    Kinda like pouring gas on a fire ain't it! Stupid stupid!

    January 3, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. sifto77

    notice the deafening silence from former Pres Clinton and Sec of State Clinton–they will not be going down for this in any way, shape or form---

    January 3, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. Lynn T

    This administration is so out of touch, it is terrifying.

    They actually believe that Guantanamo is fueling hatred of America because al Qaeda uses it as a propaganda tool???!!

    Uh.... they do realize that no Islamic terrorists were being held in the facility at the time of September 11, 2001, don't they? I don't think they need Guantanamo to hate us and want to destroy us.

    Wake up, PLEASE!!!

    January 3, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. Alan

    For those of you who have no idea what you're talking about, please do some research about Guantanamo. While some of the prisoners there are/were hardened terrorists, there are also a great number of prisoners there for whom we have no evidence of participation in terrorism. Some of them just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, as crazy as that seems. But the bottom line is that we cannot hold people indefinitely with no charge, regardless of their nationality or beliefs. That being said, there are NO PLANS to release any people from Guantanamo who are suspected of being dangerous. The dangerous prisoners are being transferred to other facilities, including a prison in Illinois. For practical reasons, some of them will continue to be held without charges, as immoral is that as.

    The same group of people who is so up in arms about this is probably also screaming their heads off for the return of those American hikers from Iran and the return of those two journalists from N. Korea (which already happened).

    CNN, please be more clear in your reporting, I think most of this could have been clarified in the article.

    January 3, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Terry

    Weak on Islamic terror? What do you expect from a president who's middle name is Hussein?

    January 3, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. RoadKill

    Put them on trial, like regular thugs! I don't care that they may be tortured at home. Bush was a wimp for NOT sending them back! So, the ones we have something on, become Bluto's cellmate... and those we don't have something on, become Kalid's playthings.... tough... Should have done it years ago.

    January 3, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. kev49426

    Chris, I'm not trying to criticize and I agree that it would be great if we could all "just get along" but I wonder if you would give these poor, misunderstood, terrorists the same benefit of the doubt if they had your infidel a$$ by the hair with a knife at your throat while rolling the camera. There is no possible excuse for their level and methods of violence no matter what the cause...and oh by the way...what is their cause again? Unfortunately, evil lives in the world and will always be with us. Many have come before you with great hopes and promises for peace to no avail. History always teaches those willing to learn. I think it might have been Chamberlain who, upon returning to England said "we have achieved peace in our time" right before 70 million people worldwide lost their lives...

    January 3, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. JonDie

    The U.S.'s Stalinist-style gulag at Guantanamo is still a dark stain on our country's history and traditions and a great recruiting tool for our enemies. Why would we NOT want to close it? The answer to fighting terrorists is NOT to become just like them.

    January 3, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Hendrik

    @Jennifer

    "We have to take our governmentback". Well, well, all self-righteous. I am not blaming Bush but am blaming morons like YOU who did not react with the same indignation when GWB did this. Bush has rightfully kept his trap shut. You and yours are just not able to do this.

    January 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. Nick San Diego

    For Bill in Texas
    Im an Obama supporter and still here. All you know is your dislike for the President and no matter what he does, you;ll find something to criticize.
    Were you as critical of Bush when 911 came ??? Remember it happened on his watch. Yep 9 months after he took office.
    Not to mention the largest mess he left the new President
    .Diahrea of the mouth and constipation of the mind = Conservatives

    January 3, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  21. Republicman

    Terry from W.Texas and the rest of you left wing Idiots. I believe ya'll would rather see America harmed than admitt we screwed up electing this Moron President. Is he still a Muslim in christian clothing?????

    January 3, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Send them back to Yemen, they will kill them for being captured and not dying in their so called honorable way.

    January 3, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  23. Donkey Party

    Again, the hypocrisy of you right-wingers is beyond reason. Where was all your phony concern when GEORGE W. BUSH released detainees back to the Middle East that have publicly rejoined Al-Qeada and the Taliban? Every rightie on here shows how insanely cowardly they are. Too afraid to release them, too afraid to prosecute them, too afraid to move them into maximum security prisons, and infinitely too cowardly to serve in our military. This proud liberal not only served, but I'm also a disabled veteran from a combat related injury. I didn't defend this country to make it a safe haven for cowards. Can't wait for Conservatism and it's sub-human followers to die off before the next election cycle.

    January 3, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  24. GI Joe

    Bush sent back way more Yemenis than President Obama would even think to send. Get your facts straight, republiKKKans.

    January 3, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. j.r.

    Folks the most important comment Bin Laden has made since 2001 one was that his single goal is to banrupt America. By his own statment he doesn't have to blow up anything anymore, just threaten to and it costs us millions – what do you think the last week has cost us? We need to get wise and take these guys out one at a time. Not panic every time they make a noise and just continue to hunt them down – efficiently – and eliminate them quietly. Let more of them wake up one morning and ask "Hey, have you seen Hussien?" He was here just a minute ago. SURPRISE.

    As for bankrupting America, do you think he's had some local partners for the past 10 or 12 years?

    As for President Obama. I voted for him – first time i have actuall voted FOR someone. Really hope he doesn't blow it. Has my support so far, but he could lose it.

    January 3, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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