The Washington Times - September 17, 2008, 01:10PM

There are about 100 Yemenis imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, but they are not likely to go home anytime soon.

The Yemeni authorities are known to have let out at least one convicted terrorist before — at least temporarily — and that has given the United States pause before handing over any Guantanamo inmates, though it wants to close down the detention facility.

Washington has to make sure that “they don’t walk out the back door when they go in the front door,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

Today’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen put a fresh spotlight on the country’s anti-terrorist record. The Bush administration praised the Yemeni government for its cooperation in the fight, but it also said that more can be done to prevent future attacks.

“It’s no secret that we’ve had some issues in the past with the Yemeni government, in terms of the incarceration of individuals involved in terrorist acts,” Mr. McCormack said. “The most recent one involved somebody who was supposed to be in a Yemeni jail for life. But we subsequently found out that they were on some sort of release program or supervised release program. That person is now back [in prison].”

That incident occurred in October 2007 and involved Jamal Badawi, who was convicted in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. He had escaped from prison, along with 22 other convicts, in 2006 and turned himself in two weeks before his questionable temporary release.

— Nicholas Kralev, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Times