Cal  Thomas

The prisoner release is another in a growing list of executive actions that bypass Congress, which has imposed strict statutory restrictions on moving detainees out of Gitmo. These include a determination by the secretary of defense that any transfers are in America's national security interests; that procedures are in place to substantially mitigate any future threats by the terrorists and most importantly, that Congress receives notification 30 days before any planned release. Congress received no such notice. Once again, President Obama has circumvented the law.

The track record of previous terrorist prisoners released from Gitmo is not a reason for confidence. According to a recent U.S. intelligence report, 603 prisoners have been freed from Guantanamo; 100 of them are confirmed to have returned to terrorism, and another 74 former inmates are suspected of returning to terrorism.

Wayne Simmons, a former CIA operative, told what he observed during several visits to Gitmo: "These guys come in wounded, they take care of their wounds. No limbs? We give them brand new prostheses. Turn them loose, guy goes home, picks up arms and uses that leg to help kill us."

Brigadier General Jay Hood, who once ran Gitmo, confirmed this scenario in testimony before a House panel in 2005. About a detainee named Abdullah Mehsud, Gen. Hood said, "He came to us without one leg ... we fitted him with a prosthetic leg before he left while in U.S. custody." The cost was reported to be between $50,000 and $75,000. After his release, Pakistani officials say he directed an attack in Pakistan that killed 31 people. Two months later he blew himself up to avoid capture.

Radical Islamists are serious about killing in pursuit of their extreme objectives. Releasing their soldiers can only embolden them to take more Americans hostage. The deal for Sgt. Bergdahl may well turn out to have been a bargain with the devil.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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