January 3rd, 2010
10:52 AM ET
5 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. Southern mudsucker

    Isnt it a strange coinsidence that the new screening machines are already built and ready to operate,and now that the attack happened, will have the backing of the population to use them,mmmm?

    January 3, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. W l Jones

    Every man in this country should spend at least two years in an active branch of the military. We have a problem in our long term thinking in this country among none military people.

    January 3, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Adam in California

    Calm down everyone.

    We have assurances from both DHS Secretary Incompetano and Robert Glibbs that the "system is working".

    We also know that, because the Evil Dick Cheney and his puppet W are no longer in power that the Muslim World loves us. The Forth Hood shootings and the attempted Panty Bombing are the acts of lone wolf miscreants – people who were no doubt still offended by the US and had not gotten the memo on the newfound love of the United States engendered by the superior diplomacy and soft power kung fu of the current administration.

    Yet another distraction from the important work confronting the finest administration ever assembled. Ever.

    January 3, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Rob

    A majority of Americans don't support the czar's recommendation. Does that means anything to this administration, or are they just like the last administration - you can do anything you want to do between elections.

    January 3, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. kathy

    Aren't all you Obama lovers proud

    January 3, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. annie s

    I'm a strong supporter of closing Guantanamo – and if we do not have enough evidence to try a detainee in either civilian or military court, then we don't have the right to hold them at all. Period. And will the ignorant please stop blaming Obama, referring to him as a "tool of the Saudis" etc.? Bush was a great friend to the Saudis and allowed them, including members of bin Laden's family to leave the US immediately after 9/11 ; Bush released 600 detainees from Gitmo back to their home countries; heck, 9/11 happened on Bush's watch. I trust Obama far more than I trusted someone whose idea of fighting back against the people responsible for 9/11 was to attack a country that had nothing to do with it!

    January 3, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. jim slim

    Lets get our own house in order with the mess mess they left, you don't offer to clean up someone else's out, before you sort out yours.

    If bush had not sent them home and gave a guy a visa this would never have happened, are the safer in middle east or in our HIgh security Prison? well I know?. whats with fighting putting them in USA gop? because you know they will come back and try again on dems watch..sickos... , a self fulfilling prophecy buy the GOP to cause damage. Made at home by the GOP to get back into power at the expense of the american & foreign travelers on holiday, in the skys. This man is sick and so is the damage GOP did in the last 8 years.

    January 3, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Mike O

    "A unique event"; I guess this dunderhead doesn't realize the same tactic was used in an attack on the Sauds. Would someone find which file cabinet this guy filed his brain in?

    The most incompetent Administration evah!

    January 3, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. GuyInVA

    Detainees to Yemen? That ought to rehabilitate them.

    January 3, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. doug austin

    why in the time when yemnen is going through so much trouble do we add more on their plate

    January 3, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Herb

    Does Obama and his adoring and enlightened staff understand the definition of "preserve, protect, and defend"? These people are clueless!

    January 3, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Not spoon fed San Diego

    The 911 attack has morphed into an anti muslim crusade. Now , I ask everyone, who benefits from this ? Not we Americans (for we are a multi religious,multi ethnic country). Just think this thru a little.
    911 happened for a reason . No one bombs and kills innocents for NO reason.And no it;s not that they don;t like us or our ways (thats just plain juvenile). What they did was a reaction to our policies.
    1- Sending troups into Saudi Arabia was a no no. as Ibn Saud vowed
    2- Our one sided Israel policy concerning the Palestinians as many Arabs witnessed the years of Palestinians being humiliated.
    The whole story of 911 has not been written yet.
    Also for the many of you who are of age and have not served your country, but spew out all this hate. Conserve that energy and enlist. You might see how the REAL world works.

    January 3, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Honest Citizen

    This Muslem administration is protecting its terrorist brothers and making sure that the captive ones get released and sent back home to train and be trained again.

    It protects the movement by telling those gullible Democrats that all is under control. But this country is out of control and the pilot is bent on its destruction.

    He misdirects citizens with a healthcare fight while he directs attacks on the country.

    Those who believe in him are fools, those who take his word are insane.

    January 3, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Black Republican

    I'm sorry "liberals", but this is a perfect example of what I term "Crackpot liberalism" !

    After all the trouble caused by sending guantanamo detainees back to Yemen, Obama decides to send more back to Yemen, futher swelling the ranks of Al Qeada ????

    Hello ??? An idiot can see this decision is assanine !

    This is not about partisan politics people !

    This is about the "sissification" of the US goverment !

    You can say what you want about Bush, but the one thing you can say about his is that "so-called cowboy" protected this country through strenghth. When we got attacked, "heads got rolled" !

    Obama seems not to have the minerals to do the same !

    Give me Yosimete Sam any day over Obama !

    January 3, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Carol

    The Yemans being sent back to Yeman will undoubtedly be monitered by the powers that be, maybe even lead to leaders or other terrorists in or near Yeman.

    January 3, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. TOTUS

    Arrrggghhh!!! I suppose Barack Hussein himself will greet the newly freed terrorists with a hearty "salam alaikum!" as they land in Sana'a and plant a big kiss on both cheeks of each one.

    January 3, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Dimslie

    Dear Proud Democrat:

    You're right on the mark about what's going on with this administration. Now, you need to think through why you fell for this group in the first place. It isn't like their true bent was hard to discern. You don't need to admit it to us but, you do need to start voting based on what you think rather than what you "feel". Sadly, you won't vote for many Democrats when you do.

    January 3, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. jules sand-perkins

    If Al Qaeda uses the facility at Guantanamo as a propaganda tool against us, the solution isn't to eliminate Guantanamo.
    The answer is to eliminate Al Qaeda.

    January 3, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Republicans are worthless by attempting to defend themselves over they're incompentancy fighting the al-qaeda by calling others worthless

    These GOP folks from Texas and the midwest are clueless with they're arguments defending the GOP talking points to crticize the Obama administration's strategy for fighting the al-qaeda. President Obama is very specific leaving no room for these GOP folks to invalidate the strategy. Plain and simple......the enemy is being attacked where they reside in Afghanistan/Pakistan. G.W. and Bullet head Cheney didn't even have the resolve to do such. Instead, the Bush Administration failed to fight al-qaeda by squandering our funds to invade a country with no al-qaeda present without WMD's.

    January 3, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. fred lapides

    How many prisoners at Guantanomo were released under Bush and got back into Jihadist roles? guess

    January 3, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. We need to wake up

    Has anyone read Mr. Shahids comment? That is typical speak for individuals that do not truly understand our country. It is very interesting that CNN allows all individuals to post to this site where people are very fond of discussing their opinions, no matter how useful or useless they are.
    We need to assess the situation and security threat realistically. Something needs to be done and we need to analyze every angle. We truly don't know what is going on behind the scenes or what political manuvers are being played.
    I trust our military and this country, I still feel that we desperately need to wake up. No matter how crass he was, maybe Dick Cheney was right.

    January 3, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. indiana voter

    @Lame Duck

    Everything you listed is goals that he hasn't accomplished yet. It is funny that Obama hasn't accomplished anything in his first year, except spend a record amount of taxpayer money, and you cite that as successful. It just shows the ignorance of the Democrat Kool-aid drinking left.

    January 3, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. nostrategy

    This is ridiculous. Obama still intends to close Gitmo and send 116 Yemeni detainees home to Yemen??? 116 of the 198 detainees in Gitmo are Yemenis!

    January 3, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. Bee-Bee

    Why do any of you, left or right, think you have all the information about this decision? Has anyone noticed that the world is not black and white: It is made up of shades of gray.

    January 3, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Sue from GA

    That is the most stupidest thing I head from the White House since President Obama took office. Looks like the only one with good common sense right now is Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

    President Obama... Did you have a nervous breakdown or something? How sad, I thought you was a smart man. Are you?

    January 3, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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