Former Guantanamo Detainee Terrorism Trends
Former Guantanamo Detainee Terrorism Trends
Based on a comprehensive review of available information as of mid-March 2009, the Defense Intelligence Agency reported 14 percent as the overall tate of former Guantanamo detainees confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist activities. Of the more than 530 Guantanamo detainees transferred from Department of Defense custody at Guantanamo Bay, 27 were confirmed and 47 were suspected of reengaging in terrorist activity. Between December 2008 and March 2009, nine detainee were added to the confirmed list, six of whom were previously on the suspected list.
Various former Guantanamo detainees are known to have reengaged in terrorist activity associated with the al-Qaida network, and have been arrested for reengaging in terrorist activities including facilitating the travel of terrorists into war zones, providing funds to al-Qaida, and supporting and associating with known terrorists.
The following summary, based on DIA assessments and analysis, is as comprehensive as possible given national security concerns; much of the information regarding specific former GTMO detainees' involvement in terrorist activities remains classified.
Definitions for Confirmed and Suspected Cases
Definition of "Confirmed" — A preponderance of evidence — fingerprints, DNA, conclusive photographic match, or reliable, verified, or well-corroborated intelligence reporting — identifies a specific former Guantanamo detainee as directly involved in terrorist activities. For the purpose of this definition, engagement in anti-U.S. propaganda alone does not qualify as terrorist activity.
Definition of "Suspected" — Significant reporting indicates an individual is involved in terrorist activities and analysis of that reporting indicates the individual's identity matches that of a specific former Guantanamo detainee. Or, unverified or single-source, but plausible, reporting indicates a specific former detainee is involved in terrorist activities. For the purposes of this definition, engagement in anti-U.S. propaganda alone does not qualify as terrorist activity.
Review of Specific Cases Identified in May 2008
Abdullah Saleh Ali al-Ajmi — repatriated to Kuwait in 2005. In April 2008 he conducted a suicide bombing in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The attack resulted in the deaths of numerous Iraqi citizens.
Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shihri — repatriated to Saudi Arabia in November 2007, and Mazin Salih Musaid al-Alawi al-Awfi — repatriated to Saudi Arabia in July 2007. On 24 January, a 19-minute video was released wherein al-Shihri and al-Awfi announced their leadership withing the newly established al-Qaida in Arabian Peninsula.
Ibrahim Bin Shakaran and Mohammad Bin Ahmad Mizouz — repatriated to Morocco in July 2004. In September 2007, they were convicted for their post-release involvement in a terrorist network recruiting Moroccans to fight for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI). Recruits were to receive weapons and explosives training in Algeria from the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which has since become al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, before going to fight in Iraq or returning to Morocco as sleeper cells. The organizers of the group reportedly intended to create an al-Qaida-affiliated network in the Maghreb similar to AQI. According to testimony presented at the trial, Bin Shakaran had already recruited other jihadists when Moroccan authorities broke up the plot in November 2005. For their roles in this plot Bin Shakaran received a 10-year sentence and Mizouz received a two-year sentence.
Ibrahim Shair Sen — repatriated to Turkey in November 2003. In January 2008, Sen was arrested in Van, Turkey, and indicted in June 2008 as the leader of al-Qaida cells in Van. In addition, Sen also recruited and trained new members, provided illegal weapons to the group, and facilitated the movement of jihadists.
Ravil Shafeyavich Gumaraov and Timur Ravilich Ishmurat — repatriated to Russia in March 2004. Russian authorities arrested them in January 2005 for involvement in a gas line bombing. A Russian court convicted both in May 2006, sentencing Gumarov to 13 years in prison and Ishmurat to 11 years.
Said Mohammed Alim Shah, also known as Abdullah Mahsud — repatriated to Afghanistan in March 2004. Alim Shah blew himself up to avoid capture by Pakistani forces in July 2007. According to a Pakistani government official, Mahsud directed a suicide attack in April 2007 that killed 31 people. After his transfer out of Guantanamo, Mahsud sought several media interviews and became well-known for his attacks in Pakistan. In October 2004, he kidnapped two Chinese engineers, and claimed responsibility for an Islamabad hotel bombing.
Mohammad Ismail — repatriated to Afghanistan in 2004, reengagement confirmed. During a press interview after his release, he described the Americans saying, "They gave me a good time in Cuba. They were very nice to me, giving me English lessons." He was recaptured four months later in May 2004, participating in an attack against U.S. forces near Kandahar. At the time of his recapture, Ismail carried a letter confirming his status as a Taliban member in good standing.
Yousef Muhammed Yaaqoub, better known as Mullah Shahzada — repatriated to Afghanistan in May 2003. Shahzada quickly rejoined the Taliban as a commander in southern Afghanistan. His activities reportedly included the organization and execution of a jailbreak in Kandahar, and a nearly successful capture of the border town of Spin Boldak. Shahzada was killed on 7 May 2004 fighting U.S. forces. His memorial in Quetta, Pakistan, drew many Taliban leaders wanted by U.S. forces.
Ruslan Anatolivich Odijev, repatriated to Russia in March 2004. Odijev was killed in a June 2007 in battle with Russia's federal Security Service. Russian authorities stated Odijev participated in several terrorist acts including an October 2005 attack in the Caucasus region that killed and injured several police officers. Odijev was found with pistols, a grenade, and homemade explosive devices on his body.
Sabi Jahn Abdul Ghafour, also known as Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar repatriated to Afghanistan in March 2003. After his repatriation, Ghaffar reportedly became the Taliban's regional commander in Uruzgan and Helmand provinces, carrying out attacks against U.S. and Afhgan forces. On 25 September 2004, while planning an attack against Afghan police, Ghaffar and two of his men were killed in a raid by Afghan security forces.
Mohammed Nayim Farouq — repatriated to Afghanistan in July 2003. Farouq quickly renewed his association with Taliban and al-Qaida members and ahs since become re-involved in anti-coalition militant activity.