Retired Navy Commander Kirk Lippold, of the USS Cole whose ship was attacked by suicide bombers that killed 17 sailors and injured dozens more, has called out the Obama administration for releasing a Guantanamo Bay detainee linked to the 2000 bombing of the ship, which killed 17 sailors and injured dozens more.
Western Journalism reports The former captain of the USS Cole called out the Obama administration for releasing a Guantanamo Bay detainee linked to the 2000 bombing of the ship, which killed 17 sailors and injured dozens more.
Retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold was at the helm of the Cole on the morning of Oct. 12, 2000, at the Yemeni port of Aden, when the destroyer was attacked by suicide bombers, who had navigated a small fishing boat next to the warship’s haul. He believes the Obama administration made a major mistake by releasing Mashur Abdallah Ahmed al Sabri, linked to the deadly strike, last month.
“Al Sabri, a 38-year-old Yemeni citizen who was born in Saudi Arabia, was at one point believed to have been a member of the terror cell behind the attack, although a subsequent assessment at Gitmo, like many done on detainees who have since been released, downplayed his role,” Fox News reported.
President Obama has been making a major push to close the Guantanamo Bay facility before he leaves office. According to The New York Times, of the roughly 780 enemy combatants who have been detained at the military prison, only 80 remain.
Regarding al Sabri, who was transferred to Saudi Arabia last month, Lippold said, “I would have liked to have seen him receive a military commission where he was tried, convicted and sentenced and then his suitability for release determined under the laws of armed conflict.”
“From the perspective of the American people and my crew, he’s never been held accountable,” the former naval officer added.
A 2008 review of al Sabri’s case determined him to be “high risk” and “likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies.”
At that time, Fox News reported, the reason for continued detention was listed as follows: “Detainee was a member of an Yemeni Al Qaeda cell which was directly involved with the USS COLE attack. Detainee attended advanced training in Afghanistan after recruitment by a known Al Qaeda facilitator.”
As many as one-third of former Guantanamo detainees are believed to have returned to the battlefield, according to American intelligence agencies.