Gates on Guantanamo: Only a ‘Four or Five Percent’ Recidivism Rate

January 27, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) asks Defense Secretary Bob Gates about Guantanamo. Finally.

Gates doesn’t really make an overt pushback, but he subtly points out that Guantanamo isn’t something to be afraid of. The total recidivism numbers “until recently” from Guantanamo have been on the order of “four or five percent, but there’s been an uptick in recent months.” Worst of the worst, huh? So much for the bogus 61 detainees back in the fight number — which, by my back-of-the-envelope calculations based on about 750 detainees having gone through Guantanamo in total, would be about eight percent, or double Gates’ total.

Also, Gates is “heartened” in terms of Afghanistan, where the Bush administration already returned around 500 detainees from Guantanamo to Afghan government custody — which has put about 200 on trial, with a “conviction rate about 80 percent.”