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American Forces Press Service

Rumsfeld: Operations at Guantanamo 'Transparent'

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2005 There has been no torture at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a series of radio interviews June 21. In fact, he added, the facility there is being run as a model detention facility.

Except for a few incidents of misconduct that have been investigated and prosecuted, the tactics used at Guantanamo are humane and have yielded excellent results, Rumsfeld told Tony Snow on Fox News Radio's "Tony Snow Show."

"I can tell you that the men and women who are operating Guantanamo were told by the president and they were told by me to conduct it in a humane manner," Rumsfeld told Snow. "They have been doing that. ... It is operating in a manner that's consistent with the correct principles of detention."

Through interrogations, U.S. officials learned the organizational structure of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups and the extent of the terrorist presence in Europe, the United States and the Middle East, Rumsfeld told Michael Smerconish of WPHT-AM in Philadelphia. Information also has been gathered about al Qaeda's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, recruiting and financing, Rumsfeld said.

"This information has saved American lives," Rumsfeld told Smerconish. "No one wants to hold these people. No one wants to spend time interrogating these people. But we simply have to do it. We're in a long struggle against violent extremists that are anxious and financed to go out and kill innocent men, women and children in our country and other Western countries across the globe."

The Guantanamo facility is needed to keep dangerous people such as bomb makers, terrorist financiers, and suicide bombers off the battlefield, where they could be doing damage, Rumsfeld told Smerconish. People who are calling for the closure of Guantanamo haven't considered what the ramifications of that decision may be or offered any alternatives, Rumsfeld said.

"He who would tear down what is has a responsibility of recommending something better," he told Smerconish, "and I haven't heard anybody who's said anything like that who has any idea at all, unless you want to just let all these people go so they can go out and kill 3,000 or 10,000 more Americans."

The United States has let a number of detainees go back to their home countries, Rumsfeld told Smerconish, and already 12 former detainees have been found back on the battlefield fighting against Americans. These detainees probably were mistakenly released because they were using aliases, Rumsfeld said.

"This is a tough business," he told Smerconish. "It's a difficult world. The struggle against extremists is not an easy thing. Those that are suggesting that the management or the handling by our military of what's going on in Guantanamo Bay is not the way it should be are just flat wrong."

The Guantanamo Bay detention facility is and has been very open to foreign leaders, the press, U.S. politicians, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and others, Rumsfeld told David Kelso on KOKC-AM/KRXO-FM, Oklahoma City, Okla.

"It is a very transparent situation," Rumsfeld told Kelso. "I am really struck by the apparent lack of knowledge or ignorance that people are reflecting in their comments about Guantanamo Bay."

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