Litigation Forces DoD to Release Names of Some Gitmo Detainees
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
The records, containing about 5,000 pages, are being released as part of an Associated Press Freedom of Information Act litigation decided in late January. A federal judge in New York ordered DoD release records of combatant status review tribunals and administrative review board summaries to the Associated Press by March 3.
Those documents were originally provided to AP, but with names and identifying information redacted for privacy reasons, as part of a Freedom of Information Act request in June 2005. "The court's ruling applies to those documents that have been provided under FOIA in June 2005," a senior official speaking on background said.
The list does not give the names of all 490 detainees being held at Guantanamo. Senior defense officials said the 317 records only cover the previously released redacted documents. These will be "unredacted," and names, nationalities and other personal identifying information will be released. Other protected information -- names of American servicemembers for example -- will remain redacted, officials said.
This is only a portion of the combatant status review tribunals and administrative review boards that have been held to date. There have been 558 tribunals and 463 administrative boards, officials said.
The judge ordered DoD to release personal information that DoD originally withheld because it feared the release could endanger lives or safety. "We removed the information from the transcripts that identified the detainees," the official said. "Detainee personal information was removed ... because of concern of potential harm to detainees if the documents were made public."
In some cases, detainees made incriminating statements about other detainees or about others in their home countries. In others, detainees made statements that could be taken by enemy forces as "disloyal acts" against them, and in other transcripts detainees indicated that they had cooperated with U.S. forces, acts that could be held against them in their countries.
These situations and others "could result in retaliation against the detainee from other detainees at Guantanamo or against their families in their home countries," the official said.
The documents are available on the Defense Department's Freedom of Information Act Web page at http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/foi/index.html.
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