January 5th, 2010
03:45 PM ET
5 years ago

U.S. halting transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen

The United States is halting for now its plans to continue transferring terror suspects detained at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility to Yemen.
The United States is halting for now its plans to continue transferring terror suspects detained at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility to Yemen.

Washington (CNN) – The United States is halting for now its plans to continue transferring terror suspects detained at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility to Yemen, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

"While we remain committed to closing the (Guantanamo) facility, the determination has been made that right now, any additional transfers to Yemen is not a good idea," Gibbs told his daily media briefing. Critics of the Guantanamo transfers have raised concerns over political instability in Yemen and the presence of al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula, noting that some previous detainees released to Yemen by the Bush administration have renewed their terrorist ties.

Gibbs said Yemen is "not capable of handling" additional returned detainees now.

On Sunday, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan said the transfer of Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo back to Yemen would continue after careful review of the situation.

The United States is working with the Yemeni government to make sure "the situation on the ground is taken into account," Brennan said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"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."


Filed under: Guantanamo Bay • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. chubby

    What do you know, nobama FINALLY got one right. By the way, CSPAN is asking nobama why his health care bill is not being debated on CSPAN like he promised while campaigning. Just another one of nobama's failed campaign promises.

    January 5, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. LacrosseMom

    I heard last week on MSNBC & Googled this:

    "During the Bush administration 14 Yemeni citizens detained in Guantanamo were sent home." – source Reuters

    I heard that of those detainees several are now leaders of Al-Queda in Yemen.

    Now I will wait to read the comments from the far-righ critics, who will demonize President Obama for wanting to close down Guantanamo.

    Thing is that detaining people who were not guilty to begin with, you ensure that when they are freed, they will be easy recruits for Al-Queda!

    January 5, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. Steph

    How many detainees were released to Yemen by George W Bush? Quite a few....

    January 5, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Ruh roh, Rorge! Here come the wheelchair generals posting their expert opinions on how to fight terrorism. I can't wait to see how they spin this. Have a nice day! ;)

    January 5, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Bush/Cheney didn't even hold trials. They just randomly selected people to send somewhere.

    Cheney is a terrorist for spreading fear all the time, and Bushie was just a mute puppet that was afraid of him.

    January 5, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. Nadilyn

    Hmmm, terrorists using Guantanamo as a propaganda tool? That shouldn't make any difference in our fight against terror. It is the ideology of the terrorists that make them hate Americans.

    January 5, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Ken in NC

    If we are not going to send detainees from Gitmo to Yemen why can't we give Yemen the Republican members of the Senate and House in exchange for the detainees from Gitmo. We can put the detainees in a SUPER MAX PRISON and the Republicans we give to Yemen can have all the war they want in Yemen.

    Problem solved.

    January 5, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. mark

    finally you do something right obama...

    January 5, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    It's refreshing to have a president in the White House who is capable of taking in new information and adjusting plans accordingly.

    What a great change from the pigheaded arrogance of the Bush years, which lead to so many abysmal mistakes.

    January 5, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Hitler would be too moderate for the new GOP

    It is a good idea to scrap this Bush/Cheney policy of sending GITMO detainees back to Yemen for music therapy.

    January 5, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Paul from Phoenix

    You know, Vietnamization didn't work. Why are we trying it again? Islamic fundamentalists will never be turned. They can't wait to be freed to they can attack us again.

    January 5, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    What would Republican'ts do if THEY had the House and Senate majority?
    Think they would try to push their agenda through without Democrats???

    I DO

    January 5, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Jane/Seattle

    This hysteria is really ridiculous! If the U.S. would just come home to let the healing begin, the revenge these folks feel might begin to be repaired. As it is now: Everyone seeking an eye for an eye will never solve any issues nor will it stop the violence. Are these constant incursions into other nations not simply fueling the fires of RAGE that so many feel so strongly? This same rage is what any American would feel if another human/country came with DRONES and blew up our families, killing the innocent along with the angy ones! Are all of these actions the exact choices that are perpetuating the constant hatred from all factions? The answer is: YES! All of this endless hysteria from all parties is so much more of NOT FACING the real Reasons! Peace is the only WAY to fix this mess that capitalists and short-sighted folks have created.

    January 5, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Hitler would be too moderate for the new GOP

    Most republicans were in favor of closing GITMO when Bush and McCain both said they saw no reason to keep it open. Now that Pres. Obama is trying to do it, the republicans flip flop to the opposite stance. It is amazing that 21% of our population claims to be a republican. while the half (79%) claim to be independent or democrat.

    January 5, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Tre'

    Yet another promise he's failed on. What a naieve and inexperienced president. Almost makes me with Hillary was there instead (and I can't stand either of them). He continues to make mistakes and promises without thinking them through. No plan. Remember when he signed the XO? someone asked where the plan was and he looked at Rahm and said, we have that don't we? This is what happens as a result of that statement.

    Remember folks, elections have consequences.

    January 5, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Carmelle

    Good. Don't make the same mistake the Bush Administration did!

    January 5, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Cindy

    Sounds like a prudent, logical change of plans. Good thing the underwear bomber happened before the release.

    January 5, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. Grrr-Awful-O

    Well, Duh!

    (Among a number of other things, I thought this administration was supposed to be smarter than the previous one???)

    January 5, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Obama Mama

    Ya think? Goofy Bush already released some over there and they reloaded.....

    January 5, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Steve (the real one)

    Common sense prevails!

    January 5, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Reggie

    IT's about time. The democrats were so wrong on this issue. Keep the terrorists off the streets. Sending them back to Yemen and they join up with Al Queda immediately.

    January 5, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I really hope that the right wingnuts are now calming down from their fear of 1.5 billion muslims being allowed to exist. In news today,Obama has been tough on 14 countries for not stepping up on terrorist screening.

    But by right wingnut standards, this will be a no-win for Obama, just like when Rush went after the president for ordering the 3 Somali pirates killed in the piracy and hostage taking.

    Do not be afraid little wingnuts, the current administration will keep you safe.

    January 5, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. babs

    you forgot the ....and...uh...and...uh... he always sounds like he is searching for the truth? Or out right lying! Gibbs gives America NO reassurance, replace him. Or just put someone in place to tell us straight!

    January 5, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    So Obama's "promise" of closing Guantanamo meant just sending the inmates to a random bunch of places?

    And even that hasn't been followed through.

    January 5, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. donttreadonme

    You mean it is not a good idea to give the terrorists back to the countries that spawn terrorists? Wow Obama’s Harvard education hard at work!

    January 5, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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