Senators Make Massive Security Slip In Letter to Obama

Daphne Evitiar doesn’t seem to note anything unusual about this:

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) sent a letter to President Obama today asking him to halt the transfer of six Guantanamo detainees to Yemen. The request, they say, is in light of the danger they’ve apparently just now realized Yemen poses, because Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has said he was trained there.

The only problem: those six detainees have already been returned to Yemen.

According to a Department of Justice announcement on Dec. 20, six Yemeni detainees — Jamal Muhammad Alawi Mari, Farouq Ali Ahmed, Ayman Saeed Abdullah Batarfi, Muhammaed Yasir Ahmed Taher, Fayad Yahya Ahmed al Rami and Riyad Atiq Ali Abdu al Haf — were transferred to the government of Yemen more than ten days ago.

Now, reading between the lines, it’s clear that there was a massive security slip on the parts of Graham, McCain and Lieberman. After all, the only logical reason to ask Obama to not do something that has already happened would be if the United States government possesses a time machine. Foreign intelligence agencies aren’t dumb, and they’ve probably already started notifying their governments to increase funding to time travel projects now. How long now until Iran gets ahold of a flux capacitor?

I mean, it has to be the case that this letter is proof of the existence of time travel. The only other logical explanation is that these three Senators are playing fast and loose with the facts in order to score cheap political points against the President while he’s trying to cope with a possible new terrorist threat. And surely men who have achieved the notable office of Senator would never do anything like that.

Right?

Update: For the record, there is not another group of six Yemeni prisoners being considered for release.

Yesterday I searched for hours to find out if there were six more detainees hidden somewhere that the administration was about to send back, some particularly dangerous Yemenis about to leave Gitmo that maybe these senators knew about and the rest of us didn’t. But no, there aren’t. The Justice Department and lawyers representing Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo, at least, knew nothing about such impending plans for another group of six. And when I asked Graham’s press office just which six Yemeni detainees they were talking about — Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop couldn’t name them, either.

The only logical conclusion is that the three senators were referring to six detainees who’d already been sent back to Yemen — and that they were doing so purely to try to embarrass the Obama administration and create yet another obstacle to closing down the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.

FILED UNDER: Humor, National Security, Terrorism, US Politics, , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    yep …

    John McCain, the man who refused to hold the hon Rev Wright against Obama during the campaign, the ex pow, is playing fast and loose with the facts so he can score political points while the heroic President is trying to “cope with a possible new terrorist threat”.

    right …

    oh and about that possible new terrorist threat … AQ in Yemen is not new …

  2. Steve Plunk says:

    Perhaps the senate staffers made a mistake about when the release was to take place.

    Are we scraping the bottom of the barrel here? Who exactly is slipping with security? These senators or the Obama administration?

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Jeff,

    I’m sorry–so he wasn’t asking Obama to not do something that already happened?

    possible new terrorist threat … AQ in Yemen is not new

    No, but AQ in Yemen directing attacks within the United States is.

  4. Alex Knapp says:

    Steve,

    Our security started slipping when we made the mistake of taking a military approach to counterterrorism operations instead of focusing on intelligence and streamlined procedures.

  5. Michael says:

    A much simpler explanation is that there is another group of 6 detainees scheduled for release to Yemen.

    You aren’t exactly known for unbiased posts, Alex, but this one was really bad.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    Michael,

    See the update. Do you really think that wasn’t the first thing I checked before I made the initial post?

  7. JKB says:

    hree Senators are playing fast and loose with the facts in order to score cheap political points against the President while he’s trying to cope with a possible new terrorist threat.

    The President is not trying to cope with a possible new terrorist threat, he is playing golf. We’ve been told repeatedly that this was not a big deal. Even, erroneously because we have eyes, that the system worked perfectly. So the situation if rife with cheap political points to score.

    Yes, the President has belatedly tried to cope but not to a possible new terrorist threat but to the perception his aloofness created. I doubt little has changed in the response the trenches started on Christmas, just in the window dressing the politicals put on it due to their career lifelight that started flashing in overdrive last Sunday.

  8. steve says:

    Ahhhh, that explains the old fashioned British telephone booth some have spotted at the Pentagon.

    Yemen is not a new problem, just an expanding one. This clearly has far reaching implications which I hope James in particular will address at The Atlanticist. It shows that affiliates from around the world are able to launch these kinds of attacks. It shows that sources for recruits are broader than many thought (good luck with profiling). Are we going to invade Yemen also is there is a successful attack? How about an attack that originates from Somalia? How many wars do we wish to sustain? If I were AQ I would be trying to initiate attacks from as many different places as possible hoping we would invade them all. Anyway, best piece on Yemen I have read from someone who follows the place.

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/radio/2009/12/24/gjohnsen_transcript/index.html

    Steve

    Steve

  9. C-Red says:

    Of course this is a cheap stunt to get political points, otherwise why was a press release issued about it?

    The stunt itself is not out of character for any of these three nor would be screwing it up by getting the dates wrong (either by themselves or their staff.)

    The scary part is the are some of the “serious” and “thoughtful” members of the Republican party (yeah, Lieberman might as well be.)

  10. Wayne says:

    Alex
    You have a hard time with considering other possibilities that don’t fit your agenda.

    From the sound of it, this administration has been keeping Congress pretty much in the dark about many things. Pelosi and Reid are allowing him to get away with it. Isn’t it possible that the administration fail to inform Congress of their release?

    If it was such a great security slip to request the halt of a transfer even if it is too late, then wouldn’t the actual transfer be a much greater security slip. Who was responsible for transferring them?

  11. sam says:

    @Wayne

    From the sound of it, this administration has been keeping Congress pretty much in the dark about many things. Pelosi and Reid are allowing him to get away with it. Isn’t it possible that the administration fail to inform Congress of their release?

    Well, Wayne, what part of this sentence from the DOJ press release do you not understand?

    In accordance with Congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, the Administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer the detainees at least 15 days before their transfer.

  12. Maggie Mama says:

    What’s up?

    Doesn’t anyone want to mention that Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat, California, joined the chorus of voices demand GITMO prisoner transfers be stopped? ? ? ?

    Is she trying to embarrass the Obama Administration, too?

    Or is it possible that there are a few Senators (Graham, McCain, Lieberman, Feinstein) on BOTH sides of the aisle that actually give a damn about the safety of the American people!

  13. sam says:

    Ahhhh, that explains the old fashioned British telephone booth police call box some have spotted at the Pentagon.

    In the interests of historical (and ahistorical) accuracy.

  14. Alex Knapp says:

    Maggie,

    To my knowledge, Dianne Feinstein did not let slip that the United States government has discovered time travel.

    Wayne,

    There was a PRESS RELEASE for the release of the Yemeni prisoners (who, by the way, have no evidence against them indicating that they’re terrorists). There’s no excuse for the Sens. in question to have missed that.

  15. anjin-san says:

    In accordance with Congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, the Administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer the detainees at least 15 days before their transfer.

    Wayne has a hard time considering facts that don’t fit his agenda, and an easy one making up things that do…

  16. Wayne says:

    Alex

    Like anyone reads every Press release by the government.

    Isn’t it possible that the Senators miss one Press release in millions?

    Also you may not be aware of it but sometimes agency\people don’t or delay giving you requested for information even if it is available somewhere else. Maybe you never have done much research.

    Their release was announced so how is requesting a halt to it a “big security slip”? A screw up yes but “big security slip” no.

    I’m not that big fan of any of these Senators and the story is amusing. However the outlandish conclusion people are drawing from this is stupid.

  17. Michael says:

    Do you really think that wasn’t the first thing I checked before I made the initial post?

    Honestly, yes, I don’t think that was the first thing you checked before you made the initial post. As I said, you’re not exactly known for unbiased posts.

    Like anyone reads every Press release by the government.

    Isn’t it possible that the Senators miss one Press release in millions?

    Wayne, I’m sure Senators read very few press releases. However, they pay staff to make sure they don’t write stupid things like this.

    Their release was announced so how is requesting a halt to it a “big security slip”? A screw up yes but “big security slip” no.

    That was part of Alex’s attempt at satire, Wayne.

  18. Wayne says:

    Re “However, they pay staff to make sure they don’t write stupid things like this.”
    So does the President and MSM. They often make stupid slip ups and mistakes as well and often much more serious ones.

    The time machine was a lame attempt at satire and should have been fallow by logical explanation. However he claimed the Senators were “playing fast and loose with the facts” which one can’t be sure if he was trying to support his bold headline statement or simply making a statement.

    Making such a offensive accusation in his headlines deserves either clear support or rebuttal from the author. It’s not like bloggers never write a headline that you think that they must be joking and find out they are not.