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

Brennan: Some Guantanamo detainees will go to Yemen

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/03/art.brennan0103.cnn.jpg caption="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. JAL

    Yeah, really smooth move given that the Brits and the US just anounced we are both closing our embassies in Yeman due to al Qaeda activity and threats there.

    Someone isn't communicating well with somone else in this administration.

    We're in the best of hands.

    January 3, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. anonymous

    well i dont no abt this. i mean how do we know that in yemen they wont be able to talk aand make more plans i mean that place is a mess

    January 3, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Anonymous1

    security of our nation is at stake and all anyone can think abt is politics wow

    January 3, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. idea

    Stupid republicans! Why did you agree when BUSH and DICK sent some detainees in Yemen. Why you didn t complain? why are you blaming Obama for the consequences of Bush -Dick decision ( sending back the terrorists in Yemen who now plot attak against USA?).
    Republicans stop crying , stop crawling like a kid to make your position , stop being loud... listen to me carefully : Any republican will be president in 2012 so stop playing politics , start beeing patriotic again respect for the president....

    January 3, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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