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. Lilarose in Bandon, OR

    Alan, the reason America is quickly becoming a non-superpower is mostly because our jobs have gone overseas.

    You can't be a superpower if you don't have a healthy economy and jobs for your people.

    The U.S. is now behind China and India economically. We are third, and that is not a superpower.

    January 3, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Mike

    After a year of the Obama administration, I am not suprised by this move. Obama will probably end up flying these scumbags back home via first class ticket so he can prove he really is sorry for inconveniencing the terrorists. Liberals think by kissing the tails of those who want to kill us, they will leave us alone. Liberal and logic are two words that do not go together.

    January 3, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Nick San Diego

    For Liberals are worthless
    Your disdain for the word Liberals, actually shows how dumb you are. Did you ever stop to think that it was Liberals that gave you the 8 hour day, 40 hour week, or that your wife, mother or daughter can vote with the womens right to vote, or that blacks were finally given equal rights. Oh theres much more, but you get the idea.
    If it were left to the Conservatives the Robber Barons,would be controlling every aspect of your life, from where you sleep (in company owned buildings), to where you bought your goods (company owned stores).
    So show a little more respect to those who gave YOU a better life.

    January 3, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. Dimslie

    I didn't say I liked Bush, Democommie.

    January 3, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. RocketJL

    Chris – Hate to say it, but Jeremy seems to have a better understanding of the problem. Terrorism has spread around the world and as long as we refuse to face the truth, more Americans will die from these guys. Trying to think like you, the Bush folks released terrorists back into this area and now two of them a leaders in the terror groups that mounted the latest attack.
    I'm 71 and don't think the pansy approach is going to work on the world stage.

    However, you have a nice day, go out and kill a terrorist.

    January 3, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. Liberals are worthless

    @ Nick San Diego

    You better brush up on your history. most of what you said is completely wrong, but then again, you are a liberal. You're not very bright.

    BTW, keep supporting this massive failure we are currently witnesing in Washington. You're going to feel awful lonely in a few short months.

    January 3, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Anonymous

    The Islamic society has been at war with the infidels (non Muslim) for centuries, it has been going on well before the United States became a country. Their belief is that non believers of their god Muhammer(pun intended), are infidels and need to be exterminated.

    Islamic radicals formed Al Qaeda, which is like a cancer cell gone wrong in the human system of life. Respect for humanity, regardless what region of the world or color of your skin, they want you out.

    Like a cancer RADIATION is required to cure the problem. A few strategic doses of radiation will considerable stem the spread of this cancer. If a new cancer cell sprouts up, MORE radiation will suppress it.

    problem solved.

    January 3, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. Joe Fattal

    John, you are at it again. First you comparing 9/11 with that Nigerian. Now you telling us that some Gitmo detainees will go to Yemen. Do you know that we are closing the American Ambassy, and the British Ambassy in Yemen due to some known Al-Qaeda terror plot. I guess they couldn't be but in a better place. Keep up the good work.

    January 3, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Femi Ajiboye

    US should lead by example. You are beacon of hope and you must realize that illegalities does not give birth to legality

    I support your President resolve to close the facility. After all the crisis US found itself today was self inflicted. You guys need to admit that. when you provided support to Taliban to fight defunct Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein against Iran what were you folks thinking. All this has now come to hunt you folks

    Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to his people

    The only thing to fear about this extremist is to fear them. We must not fear them. They surely will be defeated.

    January 3, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. cjack23

    unreal! This administration is just putting our country in more danger with every single person they release back out there. Shouldn't Obama be worried about getting ready another camera appearance. 2012 can't come soon enough!

    January 3, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. terry,va

    Brennan you and Obummie live in Disneyland North. You are Mickey Mouse and Obummie is Goofy.

    January 3, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. Ed

    Chris, regarding your reply to Jeremy......
    "Morons like you"....just who were Americans killing at the time the planes flew into the WTC?
    "honor over safety"....yeah, easy to say "armchair quarterback", until it directly affects YOUR safety or that of your family or friends. I wonder how many families of those murdered in NYC would concur with THAT brilliant statement?
    "who cares if we release a few detainees to Yemen"....do you not read the news? Two previously released detainees are in upper management in Yemen terror cells today and may have been involved in the Christmas day plane attempt. I wonder how many of those passengers agree with THAT brilliant statement?
    People like you are the ones that just don't get it. War bad; peace good......brilliant, just brilliant.............

    January 3, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. ted

    OK, all the Republican rightwingnuts like cheney and the rest of the writers on this blog can all go to hell. We are in the situation we are due to the incompetency of Bush and Cheney. Those two should go to the Hague to face war crimes trials against humanity. They did not kill bin Laden. They did not kill al queada. They killed Saddam for threatening George HW Bush. excellent. I feel so safe now.

    Obama 2012

    January 3, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. kr

    Yet another example of this adminisreation's incompetence! Send detainees to a state known for terrorism? How long will they stay locked up before rejoing the Al Qaeda ranks?
    Note to Sarah: the entire conutry is NOT complaining about Guantanonmo, only the liberals are and there options so fare are to bring them to the uS and now send them to unstable terrorist countries......

    January 3, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. Jason

    The Obama administration has information the airline bombing suspect has ties to al Qaeda in Yemen. Now some Yemeni *detainees* (not convicted criminals) are being sent back to Yemen even though there is a threat there.

    Sounds to me like some detainees were willing to cooperate. Maybe even provide intel into this Yemen al Qaeda's location and/or personnel just like we do with witnesses and alleged suspects every single day in this country.

    January 3, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Lame Duck

    Hi all you num nuts...you miss the point. They are sending them back to keep track of them as they get back to their old ways and show the AQ connections. Why keep them alive in Cuba, when they will dye in Yemen.?

    January 3, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Terry from West Texas

    Republicman wrote: "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?????"

    Actually, Republicman, I would like to see America deal with its problems realistically. The Conservative position on national security is to wave the flag and give a twenty billion dollar no-audit contract to Halliburton. Obama was not my first choice for President, but I'm happier with him than I was with GW Bush, whom you voted for, and G Bush Sr., whom you voted for if your'e old enough. Reagan, Bush, and Bush are responsible for about $8 trillion of our $11 trillion national debt. Those three inept administrators have dug us in such a financial hole that it will take 3 or 4 generations to dig ourselves out.

    You know as well as I do that Barack Hussein Obama is not a Muslim. You are like other Conservatives who believe that a lie that hurts a Democrat is better than any truth.

    January 3, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Lance Richards

    "A unique Incident"? Are you kidding me buddy there was nothing unique about it, in fact we faced the exact same threat with Richard Reid, shoe bomber. It was the exact same plot and the exact same materials used so how the heck can you call this a unique incident? Are we really this stupid? We are going to send these guys back to Yemen where they will either escape or be set free and will undoubtedly face them again on the battlefield. The punks that bombed the USS cole were jailed in Yemen and every last one of them escaped custody and that is a fact.
    The things that come out of the president's and the presidential advisor's mouths are just mind boggling and they often make me wonder who's side they are on because it's surely not the side of the American People or our soldiers.

    "Closing the Guantanamo facility is necessary because al Qaeda and others have used it as a propaganda tool against the United States, Brennan said."

    So we are closing GITMO because the bad guys want us to! A four year old is smarter than that! So since they have captured one of our soldiers in afghanistan and are using videotapes of him as propaganda, does that mean that we should stop using our Soldiers? In Pakistan and Afghanistan they use civilian deaths caused by drone attacks as propaganda so under this way of thinking we should stop using drones, right? Then how come drone attacks have increased ten fold since Obama took office?

    So Obama has a Terrorist Czar now huh? Let me guess, he used to be a terrorist? But according to Obama and the Democrats, terrorism doesn't exist and it was just a fabrication of the Bush administration. Remember, Obama says that there is no such thing as a "War on Terror" so if Obama says it doesn't exist then it must be so. This has been the President's way of dealing with all of the people that want to see us all killed, he pretends that they don't exist, so they don't.

    The USA is becoming the laughing stalk of the world thanks to our butt kissing President. Before we can through him out of office Iran will have nuclear weapons, N. Korea will most likely attack the south, the "war on terror" will spiral out of control because he is going to pretend it's not happening. We will lose many more soldiers and they will be lost to the bullets and bombs of the people that we had secured firmly at GITMO until Obama decided to let them go and send them back to the battle field with a far greater understanding as to who we are and why they hate us.

    Way to go Obama, continue on your course and we will end up being in a world war within five years but at least he will be able to blame it on the next guy and if that doesn't work then he'll blame it on Bush.

    By the way, thanks to George Bush and his choice to overthrow the Iraqi Government, Democracy is taking hold and in the month of Dec. we didn't lose a single soldier. Iraq was in the top five most decisive military victories that the world has ever seen. Stupid people compare it to Viet Nam but the fact is that during a bad week in Viet Nam we mailed home twice as many soldiers as have been killed in Iraq since we arrived. In one day at Normandy we lost almost twenty times more men then we have in the entire Iraq war.

    I miss you George! We desperately need some leadership in this country.

    January 3, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Really???

    The posters who say, "I'll take honor over safety any day," and "kill them all" are both delusional children who have no idea how the REAL world works.

    Unfortunately, neither does Obama - and THAT is the scariest part of all.

    January 3, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Nick San Diego

    @Liberals are worthless
    So enlighten me......What History are you talking about ? Are you saying that the Conservatives (another word for the status quo) and don;t change anything), they gave us those progressive programs.? Every progressive program that was fought for, was won over the major obstacles the conservatives fought against. Oh how about that social security check you or someone in your family receives. Is that a thanks to the Conservatives. No, you had better read up on your history.

    January 3, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. john

    Oh obama. You continue to amaze us. Only 3 more years before we move on from you. Please stop destroying America.

    January 3, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Proud Democrat

    I voted for President Obama.....and I am extremely disappointed and concerned that he would make this decision.

    What the heck is going on with this administration, have they totally lost their mind?

    Why would we send them back to the place they were trained to attacks us to begin with? Are we trying to help them perfect their attacks?

    Seriously, this is a terrible decision.

    This is not about Democrats or Republicans it's about AMERICANS!!!

    As a Democrat I cannot defend such a terrible decision, simply because I am a Democrat........the only people doing that are career politicians who care more about their jobs than they do about us and our safety.

    January 3, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Adam

    There are some seriously angry people everywhere you look these days.

    Domestically, internationally...tensions are through the roof.

    It isn't just me noticing this...is it?

    January 3, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Dave

    Reassuring ahhhh......
    Do these guys know what they are doing?
    I am scared!

    January 3, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Liberals are worthless

    They've already proven they can't be trusted to on the economy, this is just more evidence that liberals can't be trusted with the security of this country either.

    Millions of liberals' heads are going to explode in November wondering why they got blow out.

    It only took you idiots three years to give a vast majority in this country such a bad taste in their mouths, that you can fully expect to be sitting on the sidelines, where you belong, for another decade or so.

    January 3, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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