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The bombshell behind the Gitmo speeches

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on a leaked Pentagon document showing that one in seven detainees released from Guantanamo has returned to terrorism.  An unreleased Pentagon report concludes that about one in seven of the 534 prisoners already transferred abroad from the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are engaged in terrorism or militant ...

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on a leaked Pentagon document showing that one in seven detainees released from Guantanamo has returned to terrorism. 

An unreleased Pentagon report concludes that about one in seven of the 534 prisoners already transferred abroad from the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are engaged in terrorism or militant activity, according to administration officials.

The conclusion could strengthen the arguments of critics who have warned against the transfer or release of any more detainees as part of President Obama’s plan to shut down the prison by January. Past Pentagon reports on Guantánamo recidivism have been met with skepticism from civil liberties groups and criticized for their lack of detail. 

The one-in-seven statistic is problematic. It might be too high. It might be too low. The category of "terrorism or militant activity" is broad; tracking released detainees and determining what they’re doing — that’s not easy.

It’s clear that the finding will put additional pressure on Obama administration officials to hold detainees, rather than release them. 

More interesting will be the reaction of Bush administration defenders to this statistic. Does it mean we’re minting terrorists in Guantanamo? Or does it mean these people were always too dangerous to release?

Annie Lowrey is assistant editor at FP.