Brennan: 20% recidivism rate for Gitmo terrorists “isn’t that bad”

Posted by: ST on February 15, 2010 at 9:25 am

ABC News’ Jake Tapper reports on some disturbing comments made over the weekend by counterterrorism “czar” John Brennan on the recidivism rate for Gitmo detainees:

Comments by John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, at the Islamic Center at New York University on Saturday, are drawing fire and have prompted at least one call for his resignation by a Republican senator.

At one point, Brennan was asked about a recent assessment from the intelligence community that 20 percent of detainees transferred from Guantanamo are confirmed or suspected of recidivist activity, as Brennan confirmed in a letter to Congress earlier this month.

Earlier this month in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Brennan used that figure and pointed out about the 20 percent recidivism rate that “all of these cases relate to detainees released during the previous administration and under the prior detainee review process. The report indicates no confirmed or suspected recidivists among detainees transferred during this administration, although we recognize the ongoing risk that detainees could engage in such activity.”

Shayana Kadidal of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights challenged that figure, saying that his organization believes fewer than half a dozen former Guantanamo detainees have gotten involved in “any criminal activity.”

Brennan stood by the figure, calling the assessment “very rigorous,” though he acknowledged it’s “very difficult to get precise figures” on recidivism.

“People sometimes use that figure, 20 percent, say ‘Oh my goodness, one out of five detainees returned to some type of extremist activity,'” Brennan said. “You know, the American penal system, the recidivism rate is up to something about 50 percent or so, as far as return to crime. Twenty percent isn’t that bad.”

Brennan added, “Many of these detainees have returned, have engaged not just extremism, but terrorist attacks. It is something that we have to look at very carefully.”

He said the Obama administration has a “more rigorous review” than did the Bush administration before detainees are transferred.

A couple of things. First, it’s not shocking to any of us who follow this administration closely that Brennan is using the now classic, standard “blame Bush” line on the issue of recidivism as it relates to the release of Gitmo terrorists without failing to provide the context as to why the Bush administration had to release Gitmo terrorists in the first place, which I wrote about in depth last month:

Um, um, but wasn’t the whole “controversy” surrounding Gitmo, as we were told by Obama and other self-serving Democrats and various “human rights” groups across the globe, was that we had to “close” Gitmo and either try the prisoners who were there or release them? Yes, I believe it was. Not only that, but as I wrote about a week ago, it wasn’t Bush who wanted to close down Gitmo, but he didn’t have a choice after all the whining and handwringing by the left, including the bleeding heart liberal lawyers –including some at AG Holder’s law firm – who defended some of the detainees, defenses that culminated into a couple of SCOTUS rulings that essentially forced the Bush administration to have to release Gitmo prisoners. The precise reason the administration didn’t want them to be released is due to the fear that they’d go right back to what they’re doing. But the left wouldn’t listen to reason. It was all about playing politics with our national security, and nothing more. And now the chickens have come home to roost.

In short, if it weren’t for bleeding heart left wingers like the Eric Holders and Barack Obamas of this world who got their knickers in a twist over so-called “terrorist rights,” then the Gitmo thugs wouldn’t have been released to go back to a life of Islamofascist terrorism in the first place. Blaming Bush is just a convenient fallback for them to cover up their own significant, shameless part in that 20% recidivism rate.

As far as Brennan’s comments on the 20% recidivism rate not being “that bad,” I agree with Ed Morrissey:

[Senator Lindsey] Graham can’t even wait for [Fox News Sunday’s Chris] Wallace to finish the sentence to demand Brennan’s firing, and he’s right. The comparison between recidivism rates for “pickpockets”, the example used by Wallace, and terrorists is a complete non-sequitur. No one expects pickpockets or armed robbers to locked up for life on their first conviction, but terrorism is an entirely different manner. Americans don’t have to face the consequences of a 20% recidivism rate for foreign terrorists captured during a war unless our government gives them that opportunity by treating them like pickpockets. That’s apparently Brennan’s approach, and Barack Obama’s too for that matter.

Exactly. It’s the pre-9/11 mentality all over again, and it’s a mentality that doesn’t just start with Brennan but in fact goes all the way to the top to the President himself. Brennan should step down or be asked, ahem, politely to resign but many more who share this view within the administration need to go, too, via the same process. And if they’re elected officials, as is the case with O’Biden, November 2012 will provide the American people with the opportunity to right the wrong done in November 2008 with the election of this duncetastic duo.

It’s a long way off, but hopefully the results will be well worth the wait.

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10 Responses to “Brennan: 20% recidivism rate for Gitmo terrorists “isn’t that bad””


  1. LC Gregory says:

    Recidivism for common crimes is a matter of do the Crime, do the Time. There is no set Sentence for the guys in Gitmo – they’re there to be held out of combat for the duration.

    When a burglar does his sentence and goes back to work, the law did what it could. Not enough? Quite possibly. But there is NO legal requirement that these Gitmo vermin be released while we’re still at war with them.

  2. Tom TB says:

    Please find ONE of these potential murderers who could be reformed and released into the world, and wouldn’t kill themselves and as many people as they could? They are brain-washed cultists, often from upper class backgrounds, and worship death; theirs and ours. I remember my former workplace everyday; obviously Obama and company don’t.

  3. John Bibb says:

    President FDR didn’t have any repeat offenses from the German Saboteurs caught in the U.S.A. during WW2. All but two were executed within 2 months of their captures, and the two stayed in prison until the end of the war. And they didn’t get special food or Mein Kamph books to read either.
    Military Tribunal trials for Jihadis and long drops with short ropes if they are found guilty sounds pretty good to me. Like the old maxim says, ” Before you start out on the road to vengeance–dig two graves first. One for your victims, and one for yourself!”.
    John Bibb

  4. Carlos says:

    Ah’m jist real cirtin Mr. Roosyvelt continually released German POW’s during the war ’cause it jist wasn’t right keppin them all locked up like thayt. Right?

    An the Japanese, they let all American POW’s go after twelve months detention ’cause if they didn’t they’d be violatin their rights, and they all pledged not to fight the Japanese any more. Right?

    An I’m jist real shure Mr. McCain can testify to the fact the NVC were real concerned about prisoner rights and made sure he and his fellow prisners was nice an comfy, too. Right?

    It’s too bad the cartoon characters running our government today aren’t out of the real cartoons. I’m very certain Bugs Bunny would have a better handle on reality than does this bunch of maroons.

  5. This mind-numbingly imbecilic tactic of separating the recidivism rate among detainees released under Bush versus those released under Obama is really obnoxious. It not only contributes nothing important to the discussion, it begs the question the maturity, if not the sanity, of the president.

    The Obama administration is so lacking in self-confidence that in just one year, they have lost their way. They have now sunk to the strategy of declaring success while blaming Bush for everything. The best case they can make for themselves is that things would be so much worse were it not for their inspired and heroic leadership. There is something disturbingly childish, immature (in a “Lord of the Flies” way), one could say sociopathic, tone to these guys that is very frightening.

    Like all incompetents who quickly lose sight of their objectives, they will now redouble their efforts. Like Hugo Chavez, Obama now feels that he is surrounded by treacherous incompetents and will step up his efforts to be seen on camera lecturing others while expanding his executive powers while bypassing any deliberative process. Obama and Chavez are very similar personalities.

  6. bill glass says:

    So Brennan beats Graham on the dipsh!t scale? With Graham’s support for cap & trade, and amnesty, it’s hard to take him seriously as a conservative. Maybe if he keeps hitting the Obama administration on the terror issue, enough voters on the right will forgive some of Graham’s bad judgements and, as a result, improve his standing on the right.

  7. alchemist says:

    Actually, there have been some serious problems with recidivism numbers. This academic paper tries to link up names with evidence of military attacks on the US. And of course, have trouble finding any evidence whatsoever.

    There are two or 3 reports just like this one that have come out over the last 3 years, that demonstrate the same things.

  8. mike191 says:

    Fire this fool.

    We are fast approaching the last circle of hell under President44and his insane cabal.

  9. Carlos says:

    If the WH is so sure these guys were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, let’s release them – to the custody of the White House, under house arrest for a minimum of 10 months.

    Then let’s see how many takers we have for releasing them!