Thomas Joscelyn. “Clear and Present Danger”. The Weekly Standard. December 1, 2008 – That many dangerous enemies lurk in Guantánamo’s cells has often been a secondary concern, if a concern at all. Thus, when President-elect Obama spoke of regaining “America’s moral stature in the world,” he was endorsing the widespread perception of Guantánamo as an American sin that originated in the Bush administration’s overreaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
This perception, however, was always skewed. The new administration will soon discover from its review of the Guantánamo files what motivated its predecessor: The scope of the terrorist threat was far greater than anyone knew on September 11, 2001. But for the Bush administration’s efforts, many more Americans surely would have perished.
This conclusion is based on a careful review of the thousands of pages of documents released from Guantánamo, as well as other publicly available evidence. In 2006, the Department of Defense began to release the documents to the public via its website. The files had been created during the Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) and Administrative Review Board (ARB) hearings held for nearly 600 detainees. This unclassified cache includes both the government’s allegations against each detainee and summarized transcripts of the detainees’ testimony. Although the documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Associated Press, the intelligence contained in the files was largely ignored by the mainstream press for more than two years. Thus, the New York Times reported only the day before the recent presidential election that the files contain “sobering intelligence claims against many of the remaining detainees.”
“Pentagon urges Congress to keep Guantanamo open”. Reuters. May 9, 2007 – Defense officials sought to bolster the prison’s image, saying 95 percent of detainees are connected to al Qaeda, the Taliban or their associates and more than 70 percent have had a role in attacks on U.S. or coalition forces.
“Our critics would say that those we’re holding are farmers, cooks or other types of noncombatants. I think if you look at the classified records, they tell a different story,” Benkert said.