WASHINGTON – Countering calls to close down the military prison holding suspected terrorists swept up in roundups, Rep. Duncan Hunter (search), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has called the release policy at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "too liberal."
"Of the people that we've released, we've captured a number of them or killed a number of them back on the battlefield in Afghanistan," Hunter, R-Calif., told FOX News on Sunday. "The question is, are we liberal enough in the application of our standards that determine who we release back into the world. I think some American parents who have kids out there would argue we're too liberal."
Citing a memo prepared for him by his staff, Hunter proceeded to discuss some of the at least 10 detainees who have been released from Guantanamo Bay, or Gitmo, only to re-join the fight against the U.S. coalition bringing democracy to Afghanistan.
Among the names listed in the memo is Mohammed Yusif Yaqeb (search), also known as Mullah Shazada. Yaqeb was released in May 2003. He proceeded to become the head of Taliban (search) operations in southern Afghanistan and was killed one year later in a fight with U.S. forces.
Also named is Maulavi Abdul Ghaffar (search), released in 2002 and returned to Afghanistan. As a regional commander, Ghaffar helped carry out attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan until he was killed by Afghan forces in September 2004.
One of the more notable cases involved Mohammed Ismail (search), one of two teens held at Gitmo until he was let go last year. He was recaptured four months later fighting American troops in Afghanistan. The memo notes that at the time of his capture Ismail was carrying a letter "confirming his status as a Taliban member in good standing."
"One of the most publicized cases, Mr. Ismail, was released to great fanfare at Guantanamo," Hunter said. Ismail "did a press conference at which he thanked the United States for educating him, because we teach them to read and write at Guantanamo."
Currently, 545 detainees are housed at Gitmo, most of them members of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and their related terror groups. An additional 146 have been released and 62 have been handed over to other governments, according to the memo.
Some on Capitol Hill are suggesting that the prison on Guantanamo should be closed, or at least procedures there should be reviewed. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., who announced Sunday he is exploring a 2008 presidential run, said the United States needs "a coherent plan" to deal with detainees.
"Everyone acknowledges there is no time when we are going to know when quote 'this War on Terror' ends. So that means, we're in an unholy position of keeping 550 people there in perpetuity, which becomes a recruiting tool for terrorists. We're recruiting more terrorists by that process than we are holding terrorists," he told a Sunday morning network news show.
According to the memo sent to Hunter by his staff, 558 detainees have been through Combatant Status Review Tribunals set up last July. Of those, 520 have been confirmed as "enemy combatants" while 38 have been found to no longer meet the criteria for that status. Five of the 38 have so far been sent to their homelands while the State Department is making arrangements for the others.
Detainees found to be enemy combatants are tried by military commissions, given access to defense counsels and have their status reviewed annually, the memo states.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told "FOX News Sunday" that contrary to some claims, detainees who are still confined at Gitmo are being treated very well.
"In fact, we are a country that believes in international law, that believes in living up to our international obligations, including at Guantanamo, where the president made very clear that that was what would govern our efforts and our behavior at Guantanamo," she said.
Biden suggested that a commission, similar to the Sept. 11 commission, should study Gitmo and make recommendations about how to proceed with detentions, but Hunter said the Administrative Review Boards that annually look over the cases already function the same as civilian parole boards.
Hunter added a recitation of the daily menu, which on Sunday included Noodles Jefferson and chicken breast in broth.
"The average inmate in Guantanamo has gained five to seven pounds last year. So we treat them well, but we confine them," he said.
FOX News' Molly Henneberg contributed to this story.