President Donald Trump furthered allegations against former President Barack Obama across social media Tuesday morning, now accusing his predecessor of attempting to shut down the Guantanamo Bay military prison – known for its captivity of allegedly dangerous international terrorists and frequent use of torture as an interrogation tactic – in an effort to cause global acts of terror.
The early-morning tweetstorm followed Trump’s previous accusations over the weekend that Obama had his phones wiretapped in New York City’s Trump Towers during the 2016 presidential election; an unfounded claim with no legal or realistic possibility, according to multiple national security experts and several of Trump's aides as well.
"122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Just another terrible decision!"
Tuesday's tweets were subsequently published on the official twitter account for the president, @POTUS.
Meanwhile, it remained unclear how many people joined global terror groups like Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS. In 2014, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated there were anywhere from 20,000-31,500 fighters in Iraq and Syria alone. U.S. officials said joint-military operations backed by the U.S. and its allies killed as many as 50,000 ISIS fighters worldwide.
Several officials across party aisles long-pointed the finger at Guantanamo Bay as America’s use of unnecessary torture tactics in its fight against global terror, despite the fact many inmates detained in the military prison could in fact be innocent.
"There are still innocent people there," Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to then-secretary of state Colin Powell, said in a March 2009 interview with the Associated Press. "Some have been there six or seven years… It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance."
Obama made it one of his campaign promises to end all use of torture throughout the American military, vowing to completely shut down the controversial prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. He failed in his mission to close the center entirely, but was effective in lowering its total population from 242 detainees in January 2009 to just 41 by the time Trump took office January 2017.
The former president's administration knew it would never enact a total closure of Guantanamo Bay, however.
"I don't anticipate that we will succeed in that goal of closing the prison, but it's not for a lack of trying – that, I assure you," Josh Earnest, former White House press secretary, told reporters at the time. "Because of the obstacles erected by Congress, terrorist organizations have a powerful recruiting tool and millions in taxpayer dollars are wasted to operate this large facility."