Speed Reads

National Security

Officials: Former Guantanamo inmates responsible for deaths of Americans abroad

The Obama administration believes that close to a dozen former Guantanamo Bay detainees have gone on to launch attacks in Afghanistan against U.S. and allied forces, killing about six Americans, U.S. officials told The Washington Post.

Without going into details, Paul Lewis of the Defense Department had announced in March that some former Guantanamo prisoners were behind the deaths of Americans abroad. The Post found that most of the suspected attacks by former detainees were directed at military personnel, but in one 2008 case, a female aid worker was killed. Information regarding the attacks, including the number of suspects and victims, is classified, but a source told the Post that nine of the detainees suspected in the attacks are either dead or in the custody of a foreign government; most were from Afghanistan; all were released during the George W. Bush administration; and because "many of these incidents were large-scale firefights in a war zone, we cannot always distinguish whether Americans were killed by the former detainees or by others in the same fight."

In a letter to President Obama, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) wrote that he must declassify the number of U.S. and NATO personnel killed by former detainees. "There appears to be a consistent and concerted effort by the administration to prevent Americans from knowing the truth regarding the terrorist activities and affiliations of past and present Guantanamo detainees," she said. Since Guantanamo opened in 2002, nearly 700 detainees have been released, and 80 remain imprisoned.