Lawmakers Troubled by Reports on Ex-Gitmo Detainee

January 23, 2009 - 9:14 AM
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Washington (AP) - A congresswoman says reports that a man released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is now an al-Qaida leader in Yemen should not slow the Obama administration's determination to quickly close the facility.
 
Rep. Jane Harman, a Democrat from California, said Friday that President Barack Obama has to "proceed extremely carefully" in closing the prison.
 
But she says there is no justification for "disappearing people" in a place outside the reach of U.S. law.
 
Congressman Pete Hoekstra, of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, criticized Obama's executive order to close the prison as "very short on specifics."
 
Interviewed alongside Harman on CBS's "The Early Show," Hoekstra said as many as 10 percent of the men released from Guantanamo have returned to the battlefield.
 
An Internet posting purportedly by al-Qaida in Yemen says the group's No. 2 is a Saudi national who is a former Guantanamo detainee.
 
The Yemeni group -- known as "al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula" -- posted the statement this week on a militant Web site that regularly carries al-Qaida messages.
 
It says the man returned to his home in Saudi Arabia after his release from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba about a year ago and from there went to Yemen to join the terror group.
 
The Internet statement identified the man as Said Ali al-Shihri and says his prisoner number at Guantanamo was 372.
 
The posting could not immediately be verified, and Yemen and Saudi Arabian authorities would not immediately comment on it.