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Kerry on Gitmo Detainee Who Returned to Terrorism: ‘He’s Not Supposed to Be Doing That’


Secretary of State John Kerry lamented Wednesday that a terrorist who the Obama administration released from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay subsequently returned to fight for al Qaeda, telling lawmakers “he’s not supposed to be doing that.”

Appearing before the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Kerry made the statement while testifying about the State Department’s budget request for the fiscal year 2017.

During the hearing, Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) asked Kerry for his thoughts on Ibrahim al Qosi, the former Guantanamo detainee who is now a prominent al Qaeda leader, and had staffers hold up a picture of the terrorist for Kerry to see.

“Let me just ask one question,” Kirk said to Kerry. “I want to show you a picture of Ibrahim al Qosi, who was recently released by the administration to the Sudanese, and he appeared on some al Qaeda videos recruiting people for AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula].”

Kirk went on to say, “Now that he’s out, I would hope we would end the policy of issuing terrorists to terrorist nations, and where they can get out.”

Sudan, where al Qosi was released, has a long history of terrorist activity with Sunni jihadist groups and individuals like al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden as well as with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Sudanese government has also been internationally accused of committing genocide in Darfur.

Kerry paused for a moment before saying to Kirk, “Well, Senator, he’s not supposed to be doing that. And there are consequences for that, and there will be. But apart from that, the fact is that we’ve got people who’ve been held without charges for 13 years, 14 years in some cases. That’s not American, that’s not how we operate.”

Al Qosi was an aide to Osama bin Laden when he was taken to Guantanamo in 2002. He wasreleased 10 years later after pleading guilty to war crimes in 2010 and was sent to his native Sudan. Upon the terrorist’s release, his lawyer, Paul Reichler, said al Qosi was looking forward to a quiet life of freedom, but the two never had contact after al Qosi left Guantanamo.

Al Qosi remerged this month as a prominent figure in AQAP propaganda videos calling for the takeover of Saudi Arabia and an end to the U.S.-Saudi alliance.

This recent development came shortly before President


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