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The Dangers of Guantánamo

Keeping it Open Makes Us Less Safe

A Guantanamo detainee's feet are shackled to the floor as he attends a class inside the Camp 6 high-security detention facility at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, April 27, 2010. Michelle Shephard / Reuters

As the administration of President Barack Obama whittles down the numbers of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, transferring 15 men to the United Arab Emirates this week, some members of Congress, including Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, from New Hampshire, are once again making alarmist claims about the released detainees’ supposed dangerousness. Calling those released “among the worst terrorists,” Ayotte warned that Obama was jeopardizing national security by freeing them and planning for the release of others. Despite the vehemence with which these claims are made, the basis for them is remarkably misguided.

The bottom line is that many of those who have been detained in Guantánamo for the last 15 years were never involved in terrorism to begin with. The reported number of those who have become involved in terrorism after their release is low—and even that number is contested. The greatest danger that Guantánamo poses to U.S.

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