No Case Files Exist For Guantanamo Detainees?

No Case Files Exist For Guantanamo Detainees?


Just when I didn’t think I could be shocked by the previous administration’s decisions…

From Wash Post:

President Obama’s plans to expeditiously determine the fates of about 245 terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and quickly close the military prison there were set back last week when incoming legal and national security officials — barred until the inauguration from examining classified material on the detainees — discovered that there were no comprehensive case files on many of them.

Instead, they found that information on individual prisoners is “scattered throughout the executive branch,” a senior administration official said. The executive order Obama signed Thursday orders the prison closed within one year, and a Cabinet-level panel named to review each case separately will have to spend its initial weeks and perhaps months scouring the corners of the federal government in search of relevant material.

Several former Bush administration officials agreed that the files are incomplete and that no single government entity was charged with pulling together all the facts and the range of options for each prisoner. They said that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were reluctant to share information, and that the Bush administration’s focus on detention and interrogation made preparation of viable prosecutions a far lower priority.

Yes, I continue to be awed by the hubris displayed by Bush and company. Because the idea that we would detainee people indefinitely without legal counsel and never even worry about building a comprehensive case against them is INSANE.

I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY??? How did they think they could possibly justify this behavior?

As hilzoy puts it…

It takes, well, a special kind of administration to detain people for years on end without bothering to assemble case files on them. I’m just glad they’re finally gone.

If Guantanamo takes a lot longer to close than previously thought, THIS is the reason, not because it’s complicated to figure out that people we capture (or kidnap) have to be prosecuted and either sent to prison or let go.

More as it develops…

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  • Joel

    isn’t this supposedly why we have the DHS?

  • Mike

    No case files or destroyed case files?

  • david

    It also shows that they didn”t care about gaining any information about who these people were or what they were really doing. You know, usable intel to “keep us safe”. Everything these scum did had only one purpose, remove money from the treasury and stuff it in “the base’s” pockets. Yup, Bush’s best buddies, “the haves and have mores”.

  • John Rohan

    People need to understand that there is a difference between the judicial world and the intelligence world (I’ve worked in both).

    1. The judicial side is interested in getting the facts of the case to find a perpetrator and build a strong enough case for a prosecution, or to secure some other type of legal remedy. They avoid illegal methods, because a court won’t allow evidence that was obtained illegally.

    2. The intelligence side is far less interested in what someone did in the past, as they are with what their knowledge could mean for future operations. After all, terrorist A is already in detention – so we need to focus on questioning A to find terrorist B. Since its not their job to get a conviction in court, they are also less concerned whether the information was legally obtained or not.

    With only this article to go on, its pretty clear that the Gitmo detainees were far more in category 2 than category 1. This is not so sinister or negligent as Justin Gardner implies here. If prisoner A had information about both Terrorist B and additionally he had info about the nuclear program of Country C, then the Terrorist B info might go to one agency that was interested in him, and the Country C info might go to another agency that is more interested in that. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, and it might look “negligent” from the outside, but yes eventually you have to consolidate the information, because at some point you have to convict them or let them go. But the first priority was (and is) the prevention of future attacks rather than convictions.

    Since Obama now wants to close the prison, he needs to have his people start building up actual cases against these men. That’s just the way the process goes. If Obama or anyone claims they have to delay closing the prison because of this, they are instead actually looking for excuses to keep Gitmo open and blame someone else.

  • Simon

    How is Bush not in jail?

  • Faraz

    What a cruel act they have done ..i must feel to kill all these MF and cut them into pieces believe me i am not kinda person who believes in torture but since when i heard stories about those dogs in Gitmo prison then i lost my petience and feel like this ….

    They kept them for years with any trial nor any valid allegation..who will pay for that.? that is the basic question i must ask to you

    lives of prisoners have been destroyed and few of them commited suicide’s there famillies are crying and yelling to GOD what had they done..

    American’s if you are really justice loving people then i urge you to destroy all those perpetrators of BUSH and his Company with miserable death to teach a lesson for the Animal’s like him to come …save the humanity and its values !

  • Manchester2

    Just lock ’em up and throw away the key. It will be a good day when Gitmo closes, and yes, bring the prisoners to U.S. soil and give them the due process they should have had in the first place. Otherwise, what are our soldiers fighting for?