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. Mike in Texas

    Terrorism is winning people. It has created a divided country. It has disrupted our way of life and love of our fellow Americans. Just look at alot of your posts for that.

    We resort to name calling the President and those who don't support our own views.

    I thought Americans were better than that.

    Truly a shame.

    We are Americans first...not Democrats or Republicans or Liberals of Conservatives. Seems alot of us have forgotten that.

    Take a look in the mirror people before slamming others.

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

    Obama is just insane. Circus trials costing hundreds of millions of dollars, Navy Seals being prosecuted because a murdering terrorists says the hit him. "The System Worked" when its clear our security systems have been terribly damaged and are failing miserably. Now they want to send more terrorist back to what has become terrorist central...Yemen. And Obama has given the Underwear bomber his Miranda rights, a Lawyer, and the right to remain silent? Isn't he really a terrorist enemy combatant we should be interrogating right now. Obama has become our "Incompetent in Chief" "The SYSTEM WORKED? Really?

    January 3, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Death Panel Sarah

    To all the people questioning the govt.....
    Do you have 'inside' information on the subject????

    I thought not. Let's wait and see what is going on.
    Maybe they are to be 'bugged' to lead us to al-qaeda.....Maybe they will be treated 'harsher' there than we can do.....Have you ever been in a Yemeni jail?.....maybe its no fun!!!
    Just hold your venemous tongues and see what transpires!!

    January 3, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. dominic

    Well! This has made interesting reading.

    I shall not add fuel to the fire–yes, I *do* like the occasional flame war–but I will say that I disagree with the decision to repatriate the detainees to known terrorist strongholds.

    The risk is real, no matter how slight; and there's nothing to gain except PC points for the O-ministration.

    I am sorry this is so divisive among Americans. What is going to happen in the Islamic world is going to happen, no matter what we do. Most of it–except for the Geopolitical part, where Iran is trying to rule the world– isn't even any of our business; it's an internal Islamic matter. But no matter: the *place* where it will happen is Geostrategic, and we have no option about defending our national interests.

    January 3, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Michael

    Certainly, I have not been totally pleased with the Obama administration and all of its decisions, but compared to what we experienced with the Bush administration, we are so better off. An administration that used lies (yellow cake in Iraq) to produce a full scale war of choice, costing hundreds of billions of dollars and many, many lives was a travesty and actually was a breach of the law. It is amazing to me, that in the name of security, conservatives condone the breaking of laws. Are they really patriots? They worry about all the money now, now that they aren't the ones spending it. Of course, this money was used to shore up the financial system and to help reduce unemployment (by the way, the rate did go down this last time). There are possibilities that the rate will again go up, but not due to the policies of this current Administration, but due to the policies of the last generation and which will take time to work through.

    To be fair, the causes of the financial collapse are many and cross party lines (both Democrats and Republicans accepted policies that corrupted the system). To sit and do nothing now would invite major difficulties for the world which truly does threaten security.

    January 3, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Doug, Tampa,FL

    Too bad our leaders can't be prosecuted for gross stupidity.

    January 3, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Conservatives are worthless...........

    It's already been proven economically by history that when a Presidential admistration implements tax cuts and spending (pay later)... versus tax and spend (pay as you go)....Tax cuts and spending create fiscally unsound deficits. And when you compund the problem of war being so expensive....now that our Nation is at war. We cannot and will not accept the middle class and poor being the sole contributors for expensive war while coporations get zero responsibility. This is what Republicans and Conservatives stand for. This is why they lie to conceal the truth...........case closed.......end of discussion...

    January 3, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Death Panel Sarah

    Are all you right wing nut jobs hiding under your beds yet???

    Where's your courage?? Cowards!!!

    January 3, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Conservatives are worthless........despite the moderator's objection........

    It's already been proven economically by history that when a Presidential admistration implements tax cuts and spending (pay later)... versus tax and spend (pay as you go)....Tax cuts and spending create fiscally unsound deficits. And when you compound the problem of war being so expensive now that our Nation is at war. We cannot and will not accept the middle class and poor being the sole contributors for war's expense because it's very expensive while coporations get zero responsibility. This is what Republicans and Conservatives stand for....This is why they lie to conceal the truth...........case closed.......end of discussion...

    January 3, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Paul

    Another disappointing move by this administration. I don't feel any better than when under the previous administration. Where is the logic?

    January 3, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. scott

    I say it's a good idea to send them back to Yemen, only just don't put enough gas in the plane. Oops.

    January 3, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. aranhas

    Why do I get the impression that I'm reading a Woody Allen script when I read comments about homeland "security" from the Administration. I've been traveling overseas for decades and this is the first time I've felt embarrassed when I show my blue passport. I'm switching to the Repubs until we get some "grownups" in office.

    January 3, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Mike in Texas

    We as Americans are more likely to die from the following than from Terrorists:

    Drunk Drivers
    Cancer
    Heart Disease
    Influenza
    Being Shot

    The list is much greater than this.

    However we give less a hoot about solving these issues than terrorism.

    A country divided cannot stand. Americans, need to put their differences aside and work together.

    If we spend as much time and effort on working together as we do on name calling and slamming those who don't agree with us, imagine how much we could accomplish.

    I have made a resolution to be a good American. No name calling or slamming. It it counterproductive.

    Happy New Year.

    January 3, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Hugo

    Within our Constitution treason is defined as aiding and abetting an enemy of the United States. I would have to think that sending a bunch of POW's back to the recruiting station that courtesy of our Government now have a more full knowledge and understanding of how our military and "failed tribunal system" work amounts to nothing more than treason. If these guys are "terrorists" then execute them, if they are soldiers under an organized army then use them for our gain or Israels gain for prisoner swaps in this age old struggle, there is only one ending to all of this.

    January 3, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Joe M

    This guy is another burned out hazbend who has been in Washington way to long...He needs to get a real job out of Washington and shut up....He is another Obozo appoligst who thinks and acts like he knows it all..He is as dumb as a pile of Obozo camel dung..

    January 3, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Eric from MI

    you cant expect anything less than this...I mean he said he would shut down gitmo and now people complained that he didn't so he has to....lose lose situation if you ask me....sending them to Yemen though not a good idea but we cant exactly send them to the north pole so again lose lose situation....oh well guess we just have to keep fighting this war on "terror" which will never ever EVER end we all need to understand that we either keep fighting or let these countries haboring terrorists destroy each other and just stay the hell out of there

    January 3, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. tee

    You reap what you sow......what goes around comes around.....time to pay the piper......when you dig one grave.....dig two....chicken have come home to roost.

    January 3, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. millerscellphonejournal.blogspot.com

    Here's $67 million, take some detainees.

    January 3, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. tee

    Listen to all the chicken hawk repugs....grow some hair on your chest...man up.....If anything happens....Cheny and the white elite(repugs) had something to do with it.....after all its what they are praying for.

    January 3, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Robin

    Nick San Diego January 3rd, 2010 11:08 am ET

    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 so wrong on so many levels.

    Okay, Civil Righs Act of 1964....Here is how the voting went in the standard Yay/Nay format:

    Democratic Party: 152-96
    Republican Party: 138-34

    So simple math is that 60% of Dems were against Civil Rights, while approx. 24% of Republicans were against.

    Also, Senator Byrd, Democrat, West Virginia, personally filibustered the bill for 14 hours. He and other Democrats led the filibuster for 83 days. Bet you did not know that. So, please, stop listening to your liberarl college professors and pick up a history book.

    January 3, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. jules sand-perkins

    Even Democrats have come to this forum unable to defend President Obama.
    Other writers have obviously come with Bibles in hand, which may be a good idea, considering the crisis in our administration.
    God is not ever going to do for you something He has already given you the power to do for yourself. In this case, that power is to think.
    Think about this situation seriously. Plug in the Kool-Aid jug.

    The writer who brought up starting the impeachment process is right, as sickening as the affect of this situation is.

    January 3, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. toby

    To all Libs whining about how this administration is being treated. You blamed Bush for everything, even a hurricane in which people were given 5 day warning to get the hell out, so now it's your turn to sit and endure the criticism.

    January 3, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. caliperson

    Hey remember when the USS Cole attack planner broke out of a Yemeni prison? Haven't we learned anything? Yemen cannot competently hold detainees.

    January 3, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Doreen

    Well, even I, think that the process of sending them to Yemen should be very carefully considered.

    January 3, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Keith in Austin

    With astonishment I watched the interview with Brennan today. He lauded Janet Napolitano for the trmendous job she is doing! I now realize that our Nation's security has been reduced to nothing more than Washington politics and Obamas misguided idealistic views.

    I am sickened by the naivity of this President and his priority of being liked in the Muslim World that he fears mentioning the word "terrorism". He nowsu pports sending our captured enemies to Yemen, a terrorist state so they can attack us again. Supports the use our Federal Courts to publicly display 9/11 murderors like KLM on a worldwide stage instead of a military tribunal where they belong. The disgusting scene of Barry bowing to a Saudi King, apologizing for America, befriending Communists like Hugo Chavez, Castro etc.

    These are some of our Nation's darkest days and the Bush Blamegame nolonger holds water. Obama's leadership has led us to where we are today and it has been abysmal. I hold our Country far above this empty suit and that is why I will vote against him and every other Liberal Democrat that is ruining America!

    January 3, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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