Administration Exaggerated Danger of Guantanamo Detainees

Remember when Dick Cheney told the world that the captives at Guantamo represented "the worst of a very bad lot?" Guess what? It wasn't true. The New York Times reports that the Adminstration's dangerousness claims as to the Guantanamo detainees were seriously exaggerated:

...an examination by The New York Times has found that government and military officials have repeatedly exaggerated both the danger the detainees posed and the intelligence they have provided. In interviews, dozens of high-level military, intelligence and law-enforcement officials in the United States, Europe and the Middle East said that contrary to the repeated assertions of senior administration officials, none of the detainees at the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay ranked as leaders or senior operatives of Al Qaeda. They said only a relative handful — some put the number at about a dozen, others more than two dozen — were sworn Qaeda members or other militants able to elucidate the organization's inner workings.

While some Guantánamo intelligence has aided terrorism investigations, none of of it has enabled intelligence or law-enforcement services to foil imminent attacks, the officials said. Compared with the higher-profile Qaeda operatives held elsewhere by the C.I.A., the Guantánamo detainees have provided only a trickle of intelligence with current value, the officials said. Because nearly all of that intelligence is classified, most of the officials would discuss it only on the condition of anonymity.

So who'd we get? According to a September, 2002 report we got:

...low-level recruits who went to Afghanistan to support the Taliban or even innocent men swept up in the chaos of the war, current and former officials who read the assessment said.

Or as one administration official put it, "No motherlode here."

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