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Threats, jail breaks may blunt Obama plan to empty Guantanamo

Aug. 15, 2013 at 12:07 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- President Obama's push to close the U.S. prison camp in Cuba has been jeopardized by threats and jailbreaks that freed hundreds of terrorists, officials say.

The president wanted to close the Guantanamo detention facility by resuming the transfers of the remaining inmates to prisons in Yemen. However, some Republicans now think that is now a bad idea, The Hill reported Thursday.

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., who has tried to block the transfers with amendments to defense bills, said recent threats traced back to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) show Obama should abandon the idea.

"The dangerous nature of AQAP has been reaffirmed by recent jail breaks of hundreds of hardened terrorists and the recent global terror warning issued by the State Department that forced the closure of numerous U.S. diplomatic missions," Walorski said.

Republicans warn that inmates transferred to Yemen could end up rejoining terror groups there.

Last month, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said transferring the detainees to areas where terrorist groups were active "is not a solution."

Republican concerns were heightened after more than 1,800 terrorist tied to al-Qaida and its affiliates escaped from prisons in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan in July.

Obama stopped transferring inmates to Yemen in 2010 after "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was found to have received training there. He lifted the moratorium in May.

Some 56 of the 86 inmates at Guantanamo are from Yemen.

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