The controversial website WikiLeaks released 800 confidential military documents on Monday that outline specific details of 799 detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Each prisoner’s intelligence assessments, known as DABs (Detainee Assessment Briefs), document not only the information that they divulged to government officials but their behavior within the facility as well. Most of the assessments provide a bleak description of the prisoners that justify their incarceration. Details of tactics used to extract intelligence from the prisoners were not provided in the released documents.
“The Guantanamo Review Task Force, established in January 2009, considered the DABs during its review of detainee information,” stated Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell and Ambassador Daniel Fried. “In some cases, the Task Force came to the same conclusions as the DABs. In other instances the Review Task Force came to different conclusions, based on updated or other available information.” Earlier in their statement, Morrell and Fried made it clear that they condemned WikiLeak’s decision to distribute the documents.
According to the documents, many of the prisoners provided detailed information regarding Osama bin Laden’s health and the financial state of the terrorist organization al Qaeda. In a few of the documents, mistakes were acknowledged where individuals were held wrongly due to mistaken identities or false information.
The Obama Administration has publically pledged their dedication to shut down the Guantanamo facility but has so far been unsuccessful. Even though the president wrote a presidential order for a shutdown to occur, Press Secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that shutting down a prison like Guantanamo is a complicated and difficult task.
“Our position is well known in the United States and around the globe,” said Carney. ” And again, it is a position that’s not ours alone or his alone. It’s shared by military leaders and was expressed by the previous administration. We understand the reality that we’re living in and that this is a difficult issue. But it remains his goal. He [President Obama] remains committed to seeing that facility closed, in the interest of America’s national security.”
The release of these documents, facilitated by WikiLeaks and distributed through international newspapers, is another extraordinary breach in what is now becoming a common occurrence with the United States. Julian Assange, the website’s founder, has been criticized by individuals, including previous co-workers, for focusing primarily on U.S. affairs instead of sticking to his company’s mission statement that says, “We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for independent sources around the world to leak information to our journalists.”