This was already in the works prior to Tuesday’s Democrat disaster, but what does this say about Obama’s priorities, especially after the illegal Bowe Bergdahl fiasco? And the timing is just awful.
A Kuwait aircraft lifted off from this remote Navy base with a long-held captive before dawn Wednesday, sealing the first repatriation of a former so-called “forever prisoner” whose dangerousness was downgraded by a U.S. government parole board.
Fawzi al Odah, 37, was held for nearly 13 years at Guantánamo, starting off in the crude outdoor prison of barbed wire and chain-linked fences called Camp X-Ray. He was never charged with a crime.
His release was the first since President Barack Obama’s controversial May 31 transfer of five Afghan Taliban prisoners to the custody of Qatar in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a war prisoner of a Taliban affiliate.It also came on the heels of midterm elections roiled by debate over Obama’s Guantánamo closure ambitions. In Kansas, for example, incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Roberts campaigned for reelection on a pledge to prevent relocation of Guantánamo detainees to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, a prison for U.S. military criminals.
The U.S. military considered him to be a member of al-Qaida who was captured in Pakistan after fleeing Afghanistan through the Tora Bora mountains in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
A federal task force set up in 2009 to evaluate Guantánamo’s prisoners declared him too dangerous for release. But examination this summer by a Periodic Review Board drawn from federal national security agencies concluded he was neither an al-Qaida leader nor highly trained. The board approved him in July for repatriation on a promise from Kuwait that he would take part in a minimum yearlong rehabilitation program.