Politics

No Case Files Exist For Guantanamo Detainees?

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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…