DoD Releases More Guantanamo Detainee Hearing Transcripts
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 3, 2006 The Defense Department today released hundreds' more pages of unredacted detainee hearing transcripts taken at the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility, a senior Pentagon official said here today.
DoD spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters the newly released documents included 2,000 pages of detainee administrative review board transcripts and about 600 pages of defense counsel submissions.
On March 3, DoD previously released about 5,000 pages of unredacted transcripts of combatant status review tribunal and administrative review board hearings conducted at the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility. These documents were released in response to a New York federal judge's order pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on behalf of the Associated Press.
Whitman said detainee hearing transcripts made after June 2005 weren't included in the original batch released because they weren't part of the court case. He said it was prudent that DoD release the additional documents.
About 490 detainees are now being held at the Guantanamo Bay facility, Whitman said. The United States, he said, does not detain people arbitrarily.
All of the detainee cases at Guantanamo "have been reviewed to verify their statuses," Whitman said. The administrative review boards "are a way of periodically reviewing whether or not somebody remains a threat to return to the battlefield," he added, "or no longer possesses information of value, and is eligible for transfer to another country or for release."
Detainees held at Guantanamo are terrorist trainers, bomb-makers, would-be suicide bombers and other dangerous people, Whitman said.
"And we know that they're trained to lie to try to gain sympathy for their condition and to bring pressure against the U.S. government," Whitman said. Al Qaeda, he said, specifically instructs its adherents on how to make false accusations in order to influence public opinion.
And some detainees' lawyers have been known to make claims based on hearsay or speculation, Whitman said.
Information gathered from detainees at Guantanamo has provided the U.S. government with insight into terrorists' organizational structure, the extent of their presence in the United States, Europe and the Middle East and more, he said.
The documents are available on the Defense Department's Freedom of Information Web site.