Bush Official: We Knew Gitmo Inmates Were Innocent
New document claims releasing them was seen as 'politically impossible'
By Caroline Miller, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2010 6:50 AM CDT
Updated Apr 9, 2010 7:31 AM CDT
In this 2002 file photo, a detainee is escorted to interrogation by U.S. military guards at Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

(Newser) – The Bush White House knew that hundreds of early Gitmo detainees were innocent, but refused to release them because the admission would weaken support for the war in Iraq, according to a new document obtained by the Times of London. The charge, by Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, was made in a declaration in support of a lawsuit for a Gitmo detainee. Wilkerson claims that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees had been picked up, not by the US military, but by Afghans and Pakistanis for a bounty, and there was no evidence against them. But they saw it as "politically impossible to release them."

If innocent detainees were released, he writes, “the detention efforts would be revealed as the incredibly confused operation that they were.” Of Cheney, he writes: “He had absolutely no concern that the vast majority of Guantánamo detainees were innocent. If hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it.” Wilkerson also says he discussed the issue with Powell, who told him it was not just Cheney and Rumsfeld, "but also President Bush who was involved in all of the Guantánamo decision making.”

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Bush Official: We Knew Gitmo Inmates Were Innocent is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 49 comments
Apr 10, 2010 1:08 PM CDT
Who would be so stupid as to actually vote for another republican. If you made that mistake in the past... it's forgivable... but only if you never make that mistake again.
Apr 10, 2010 7:53 AM CDT
NOW can we begin the war crimes trials??
Apr 10, 2010 2:22 AM CDT
What did you expect from an admin whose most sophisticated description of the Iraqis was "the bad guys?" The only people surprised by this are Rightys (still deluding themselves), and utter morons who pay lip service to how great America is, without understanding an iota about the separation of powers. I have been saying for nine years now that when the people who start the war, ARE the people who decide who is an enemy combatant, and ARE ALSO the people who forbid anyone to visit Gitmo, you are going to get lies lies lies to protect political careeers and the wartime power that Bush was addicted to; which was the point of the whole war. The US has been destroyed by the sheer volume of idiocy it contains. Voters are at least as stupid as Bush.