Updated and clarified....
WASHINGTON--Illinois GOP Senate hopeful Rep. Mark Steven Kirk on Thursday said
"All the major leaders" of the Taliban opposition in Southern Afghanistan are former Guantanamo prisoners who have been released.
The Obama White House, asked to reply, made the point that the detainees released on their watch--about 42 in the past year--are not the detainees who have gone back into the terrorism business.
Sun-Times Political Writer Abdon Pallasch's report on Kirk speaking in Chicago Thursday here.
A senior administration White House official, who did not want his name used, e-mailed me this is response to my request for reaction to Kirk's statement.
"The Guantanamo Bay detention facility has been used as a rallying cry and recruiting tool by Al Qaeda and its affiliates - including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - and closing it is a national security imperative.
"We have been presented with no information that suggests that any of the detainees transferred by this administration have returned to the fight. The President created the Guantanamo Review Task Force to conduct the thorough work that had not been done before: to review the relevant information about each detainee, including the threat they pose, to determine whether they should be prosecuted, detained, or transferred. Decisions about detainees are made on an individual basis only after all of that information is considered by an interagency group that includes the Defense Department, law enforcement, and the intelligence community."