Intelligence Value of Guantanamo Detainees “Repeatedly Exaggerated”

Now that the Supreme Court is getting ready to rule any day now on a case in which a key part of the US case is the incredible military value of the Guantánamo Detainees, what do we learn…what we suspected…U.S. Said to Overstate Value of Guantánamo Detainees:

… an examination by The New York Times has found that government and military officials have repeatedly exaggerated both the danger the detainees posed and the intelligence they have provided. …

The problems of collecting information about the detainees have also hampered their screening for possible release. As a result, some of the men are being held apparently as much for what officials do not know about them as for what they do.

Officials said they had cautiously vetted the 146 detainees who have been freed, including the 16 who had been transferred to the custody of their home governments. Even so, at least a handful of serious mistakes have already been made.

New accounts from officials in Afghanistan and the United States indicate that at least 5 of the 57 Afghan detainees released have returned to the battlefield as Taliban commanders or fighters. Some of the five have been involved in new attacks on Americans, officials in southern Afghanistan said, including a notorious Taliban commander, Mullah Shahzada, who was reportedly killed in a recent accident.

American and foreign officials have also grown increasingly concerned about the prospect that detainees who arrived at Guantánamo representing little threat to the United States may have since been radicalized by the conditions of their imprisonment and others held with them. …

Senior military officials now readily acknowledge that many members of the intelligence team initially sent to Guantánamo were poorly prepared to sort through the captives. During the first half of 2002, they said, almost none of the Army interrogators had any substantial background in terrorism, Al Qaeda or other relevant subjects.

One Army intelligence reservist had previously been managing a Dunkin' Donuts. Many younger Army interrogators had never questioned a real prisoner before. As in Afghanistan, interrogators at Guantánamo asked the same basic questions again and again, many former detainees recalled. …

Oh, just read the whole thing.

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