Detainees released from the prison in Guantanamo Bay have killed Americans, said a senior Defense Department official this week.
Paul Lewis is the Pentagon's special envoy for closing the prison in Cuba. He did not say if the incidents occurred during the terms of President George W. Bush or President Barack Obama.
"What I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of detainees," Lewis told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Associated Press quoted an unnamed Obama’s official who said the incident happened while Bush was president. Also, others have suspected that a former detainee was involved in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.
Guantanamo and Brussels
The information came during a briefing by Defense and State department officials to U.S. lawmakers. The briefing discussed how the U.S. prison in Cuba became a powerful tool of propaganda, or false information, for the Islamic State terror group.
Obama administration officials have said images of the prison remind people of torture and prison without trial.
"Countries across the world and allies tell us that Gitmo hurts us," Lewis said, using a shortened word for the Guantanamo facility. "By closing Gitmo, we address a concern of the rest of the world.”
But many Republican and some Democratic members of Congress oppose closing Guantanamo.
Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, said Wednesday that European allies might change their opinion after recent attacks in Belgium. Dozens were killed and hundreds were wounded this week in Brussels.
"Let me suggest that the attitude of our European friends may well be changing in the next six months or so when they realize that the slaughter that’s taking place in Paris and now in Brussels is part of an international movement to destroy Western civilization and replace it with a caliphate," he said.
More than 85 percent of those detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2002 have been transferred to other countries.
According to intelligence reports, less than 5 percent of Gitmo detainees transferred during the Obama administration have returned to terrorism.
Some lawmakers, however, fear countries that have received Gitmo detainees, like Uruguay and Ghana, aren’t prepared to properly monitor them.
I'm Christoper Jones-Cruise.
Carla Babb wrote this story for VOA News. Kathleen Struck adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
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Words in This Story
envoy -- n. a person who
consulate -- n. a place where
propaganda -- n. information that means to persuade in a false way
Gitmo -- n. the nickname for the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
caliphate -- n. an extremely religious form of government