Commentary Magazine


Hiding from Scrutiny — with Good Reason

Stephen Hayes has a blockbuster story on the problem of terrorist recidivism by Guantanamo detainees who we’ve been released:

The Defense Department has now produced an updated version of Return to the Battlefield. According to four separate sources familiar with the study, the rate of recidivism is increasing. One source said there has been a “spike” in the number of former detainees involved in jihad against the United States and its allies. Another called the increase “significant” and ‘deeply troubling.” But the Obama administration–despite its -self-congratulatory claims of transparency–is refusing to release it. A Pentagon spokesman tells us the latest report is classified and there are no plans to release it.

The issue has all the telltale signs that we have come to expect from the Obami’s serial blunders on national security. The problem starts with moral sanctimoniousness and a determination to do the opposite of whatever George W. Bush was doing. If Bush detained terrorists in a secure, offshore location, the Obami would do the opposite. The Obami then engage in much posturing and braying, but they dread scrutiny. (“Many of the recidivists, moreover, are already known — there is no reason for the government to classify those details that can be sourced to newspaper accounts.”) That’s why we see Friday-afternoon document dumps and major announcements (e.g., KSM’s civilian trial). And it’s also why they would rather get tagged as hypocrites for lacking transparency than let the public get a glimpse of what they are up to. And finally, it’s getting impossible to argue that the Obami’s moves are making us safer. As Hayes details, in June 2008 we had 37 cases of ”confirmed or suspected” detainees released who went back to terrorism; seven months later the number went up to 61:

In May 2009, when the last report was leaked to the New York Times, the DoD had found that those metric had risen further to 74 — exactly double the Pentagon’s estimate just 11 months before. At that rate, the Pentagon is identifying each month, on average, more than three former Gitmo detainees thought to have returned to terrorism.

But facts don’t deter this gang. On Friday we learned that six more detainees were being sent back to Yemen of all places (where Major Nadal Hassan’s favorite imam has set up shop), with perhaps another dozen to follow.

It is not surprising that the Obama administration is operating in secret and concealing their policies whenever they can get away with it. Any administration with policies this inimical to Americans’ safety and security would do the same.