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

U.S. halting transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/05/art.guantanamo0105.gi.jpg caption="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. Fed Up

    Aw come on. It was such a wonderful plan – sending them back to be trained to attack us. We even paid the air fare. What a loss! Someone may be upset with us. Maybe Hillary can talk to them.

    January 5, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Patrick

    You mean releasing terrorists is a bad idea or just releasing them and having those same detainees rejoin Al-Qaeda is a bad idea? The Obama Administration is a series of bad decisions and misguided projections. Closing Guantanamo is solely a political move, it does not guarantee American's safety nor the rest of the world. Mr. President – Stop releasing terrorists.

    January 5, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Vets4Obama

    some previous detainees released to Yemen by the Bush administration have renewed their terrorist ties.
    Just more proof that Bush, never in his life, made a good decision.

    If being an incompetent moron were illegal, our prisons would be filled with republicans. Republicans are the best evidence that abortion is a necessary evil.

    January 5, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. democratsruinwhattheytouch

    Duh. The smart's in this administration astound me sometime. Lets see 1/3rd of Gitmo detainees from Yemen have returned to Al-Queda and the head of Al-Queda in the Arabian Peninsula is a Gitmo release and came up with the idea to bomb the Delta flight from Amsterdam. Perhaps, just perhaps, Rahm, we should risk the wrath of our left wing support and not let them go. We should move them to Illinois and get them some of our loyal supporters as lawyers. Its a whole new way to screw the taxpayer. Maybe while in Illinois, we can put them in to some sort of community service position, or have them mentor some of my friends from the Chicago gangs. Is this a dumb president and administration or what.

    January 5, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. T'SAH from Virginia

    Do you want to know WHY?????????????????? Because President Obama took his time to EXAMINE all fronts of this AIRPLANE TERRORIST and most likely got some VITAL information that'a putting a HALT to sending thiese guys back to Yemen.

    ............ No Fear, No Water-Boarding; No Torture; No Fear-Mongering; and No Lies!!! If CHENgang was in charge – oh boy, we would be in a THIRD WAR!!!

    January 5, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. obama the liar

    does this mean that they finally opened their eyes ?

    January 5, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. strong

    Why so far away to Yemen?

    Just leave 'em there. Save the money and a boat ride.

    January 5, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Marie MD

    Well duh! At least somebody at the WH is listening and paying attention that some of these people should NEVER be allowed to return home.

    January 5, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Andy from CA

    Someone in the Obama administration, maybe John Brennan the "Terroism Czar", suddenly turned a light on upstairs. But do not be deceived ladies and gentlemen, no one lives upstairs except "clueless Joe".

    January 5, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. Obama = WORST president EVER

    Here's a clue for Moron Obama – NO COUNTRY is capable of handling the terrorists locked up at GITMO. That's why there's a GITMO in the first place. But, Obama still wants to close it. DOPE.

    January 5, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. JHL

    This decision to not repatriate doesn't take a lot of hand-wringing. The problem with most of these mutts is that no one wants them back. If a host country agrees to take them back, it's accompnaied by aid $. Any "rehab" is having the terrorists come through the front door and scoot out the back door as soon as the initial furor dies down.

    January 5, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. wonders

    interesting how Bush's guys released them to yemen, then later, after Bush has left office.... a new guy attempts to blow up a plan on xmas....

    anyone else wondering why they were released? anyone else wonder why we haven't gotten bin laden yet? what about letting his family leave the US shortly after 9/11....

    inside job. unless you still believe in the WMD's

    January 5, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. lifelong democrat

    I wish democrats did not force Bush to release those terrorists back to Saudi Arabia. You cannot rehabilitate terrorists, these people are fanatics. Those two terrorists Bush released after democrats in both houses twisted his arms are now leaders of Al Qeada in Yemen. Obama released two terrorists from Gitmo to the caribbean last year without informing the british government about it.

    We must use common sense, being booksmart is not equal to common sense. A person can be highly intellectual with college degrees coming out of their eyeballs doesn't make them smart about life, about reality. They're smart only in theory in a perfect world, but not brightest lightbulb in the room when it comes to the real world.

    January 5, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. obama the liar

    why does this coward NEVER say Islamic terrorist, because he is afraid of not becoming the savior of the world.

    January 5, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Biased

    In three short days it has gone from yes, they will be still transferred from his head honcho on the Sunday talk shoes to no, they will not be now.
    I guess too many people discussed the silliness of sending them back right now that Obama had to swing in the wind again so he doesn't look as if he is out of touch with reality.

    January 5, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. Butch

    How'd that closing down GITMO work out for all you nutcase liberals?

    America is correct when it takes the fight to the terrorists. We can't afford to let those chumps on our soil.

    I think all you libs owe Bush an apology letter.

    January 5, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. Tony

    It doesn't matter where we send them...They'll only be a plane ride away from Yemen!

    January 5, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  18. gobnait

    The Obama apologists on this board think that Obama's reversal is the result of careful consideration?! Here's a clue, geniuses. He did it because he doesn't want to end up on the wrong side of a decision AGAIN.

    January 5, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. mavcal

    I wonder if Cheney's attacks against Obama are over the Guantanamo issue. This is obviously a bone Cheney has to pick over and Obama is in defense mode. Meanwhile while male egos beat their chests, the terrorists keep training, inflitrating and devising new ways to usurp.

    January 5, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Jane

    Imagine that more reverse of course for this administration. ...just a revolving door of lies.

    January 5, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. frank, pennsylvania

    I honestly foresee more intelligence failure since the government has decided to single out some countries rather than dealing with individuals on case by case basis. The christmas day attack was not planned and executed by a nigerian because he is a nigerian, but because he is a moslem with link with islamic extremists in Yemen. In fact, the press should have reported that "an islamic extremist with link with al kaida (rather than a nigerian) attempted to detonate a device in a plane in US" – What he did could have been done by anybody with link with such extremists irrespective of his country of birth.

    January 5, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. Chip Pierce

    Real simple solution here, in my book.
    Take no prisoners and cover it up.
    Saves USA $$ and lets them go right to Allah as "martyrs".

    January 5, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  23. JK Ashburn, VA

    If they don't send them to Yemen and still go forward with closing Gitmo (by Christmas of 2009 according to candidate Obama), i hope they send them to the Presidio. They'll fit in nicely in Nancy Pelosi's district.

    January 5, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  24. change we can believe in ???

    Good, Mr. Obama, good............That is common sense...!

    Next, please apply the same common sense and use the military tribunal instead of granting Miranda Rights to terrorists..........

    January 5, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
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