Hence, the President has sought all avenues, pretexts and excuses to free all detainees currently held in Gitmo, so that he could fulfill his pledge to close down the facility.
Sadly, many detainees who've been released from Gitmo in the past have rejoined their terrorist comrades and have gone on to kill even more US and NATO troops.
Many Gitmo detainees have been repatriated to other countries where they've been placed either in a prison or a rehab facility for a brief period of time before being released to the wild to inflict more human casualties.
In February of this year, the Afghan government released 65 Taliban fighters from a former U.S. prison that had been transferred to Afghan control. The release of the fighters came despite the objections of US military personnel who said that the terrorist detainees were "directly linked to attacks killing or wounding 32 U.S. or coalition personnel and 23 Afghan security personnel", and that the terrorists would likely return to the battlefield to kill even more NATO and Afghan troops.
In any case, President Obama's zeal to shut down Gitmo is well-known. Hence, it is no surprise that the Obama administration on Saturday released 5 "high-ranking", senior terrorists from Gitmo in exchange for the release of US marine Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who had been languishing in captivity since 2009. The 5 Gitmo detainees were handed into Qatari custody as part of the deal. Some additional info on the 5 detainees at the end of this post.
The AP reported that the five terrorists detainees were being "transferred into the custody of Qatari officials. Under the conditions of their release, the detainees will be banned from traveling outside of Qatar for at least one year."
A senior administration official told CNN, "The transfer of these individuals is not a concession -- it is fully in line with the President's goal of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay."The senior administration official - perhaps unwittingly - revealed the truth, namely that the release of the five terrorists from Gitmo was not a concession on Obama's part. Quite the contrary, Obama has desperately sought any pretext to free any and all Gitmo detainees so that he could eventually close down the facility and boast that his campaign pledge to shut down the facility was not an empty promise. Bergdahl's release allowed the President to free 5 more Gitmo detainees and avoid scrutiny. Hence, there was no concession on the President's part; quite the contrary, releasing the five Gitmo detainees, pretext and all, was a wish, and a dream, come true for Obama.
However, as the AP noted, the Gitmo detainees are being "transferred into the custody of Qatari officials. Under the conditions of their release, the detainees will be banned from traveling outside of Qatar for at least one year," which means that it won't be long before these terrorists are back in business.
Moreover, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers opined on the prisoner swap that, "This fundamental shift in US policy signals to terrorists around the world a greater incentive to take U.S. hostages... I believe this decision will threaten the lives of American soldiers for years to come."
What's more, the stakes have now been raised with regards to other US citizens who are still languishing in captivity in various countries abroad. The price to obtain their release has now been upped because the bad guys now realize they can demand, and receive, a hearty ransom from Obama and company.
[Related Post: Abandoned American Pastor, Saeed Abedini, severely beaten in Iranian hospital; Iranians trying to extract more concessions from the Appeaser-in-Chief?]
Here's a teeny bit of info on the five detainees:
According to Fox News, the detainees "are believed to be the top five Taliban leaders at the prison." According to documents from the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo, all five prisoners were high-ranking Taliban officials, and some were deemed high-risk and "likely to post a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies." Two of the detainees are wanted by the UN for war crimes. One of the detainees was "directly associated" with Osama bin Laden.
The documents from the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo also noted the following tidbit about one of the five detainees: "Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, detainee represented the Taliban during meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support hostilities against US and Coalition forces."
The last paragraph should also come as no surprise, as Iran's assistance to the Taliban - arming and training the Taliban insurgents - is well-known. I've also noted on previous occasions the close ties between Iran and al Qaeda.
In a blog post earlier this year I noted:
According to the  9/11 Commission report, many of the 9/11 hijackers were known to have traveled in and out of Iran prior to the 9/11 attacks. The report also noted that Iran had a history of allowing al-Qaeda operatives to travel back and forth between Iran and Afghanistan [to their training camps], and that Iranian border agents were ordered not to stamp the passports of al Qaeda operatives, which thereby facilitated their travel, and also helped conceal their whereabouts and their identities.
In 2011, members of the 9/11 Commission testified that Iranian border agents refrained from stamping the passports of 8 to 10 of the 9/11 hijackers because evidence of travel through Iran would have prevented the hijackers from obtaining visas at U.S. embassies abroad or gaining entry into the United States. The 9/11 commission report also noted that al-Qaeda operatives had long maintained contact with Iranian intelligence officials.
Additionally, the Telegraph-UK reported in 2008 that a letter "signed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, [then]-al-Qaeda's second in command - [which was] written after the American embassy in Yemen was attacked by simultaneous suicide car bombs - thanked the leadership of Iran's Revolutionary Guards for providing assistance to al-Qaeda to set up its terrorist network in Yemen."