Second Report on Guantanamo Detainees Released
Last month Seton Hall law professor Mark Denbeaux, who along with his son Joshua, represents two detainees at Guantanamo, released a ground-breaking report (pdf) that used data supplied by the Defense Department to determine how the DOD decided which detainees should be designated as enemy-combatants. It found:
One third of the detainees were found to be enemy combatants based upon their nexus to an organization allegedly linked to al Qaeda and/or the Taliban. The Department of Defense, for the purpose of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) proceedings, concluded that these organizations were terrorist organizations and concluded that detainees' nexus to those organizations, no matter how slight, was sufficient to hold the detainees indefinitely as "enemy combatants."
Today, Professor Denbaux and Joshua Denbeaux release a second, equally revealing report (pdf), again using the Government's own data, showing major discrepancies between the State Department, Homeland Security and Department of Defense lists of designated terrorist organizations. They say the discrepancies should make us wonder whether these agencies are capable of ensuring our safety.
The Defense Department has an official list naming 72 terrorist organizations. The report finds that
Fifty-two of those groups, 72% of the total, are not on either the Patriot Act Terrorist Exclusion List or on two separate State Department Designated and Other Foreign Terrorist Organizations lists (jointly referred to as the State Department Other Lists). These lists are compiled for the purposes of enabling the government to protect our borders from terrorists entering the United States.
Twelve of the organizations, 18% of the total, are on either the State Department Other Lists or the Patriot Act Terrorist Exclusion List, but not on both.
....In addition to being inconsistent with the Defense Department list, the State Department lists are inconsistent with each other. That is, 46 organizations that the State Department represented to Congress as terrorist organizations on the State Department Other Lists do not appear on the Patriot Act Terrorist Exclusion List.
In other words,
The Defense Department justifies holding many detainees indefinitely due to their nexus with a group that neither the State Department Other Lists nor the Patriot Act Terrorist Exclusion List recognizes as a terrorist organization.
What does this mean? Either the Defense Department's list is bogus, or the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, which are entrusted with securing our borders and safety, don't know what they're doing.
This inconsistency leads to one of two equally alarming conclusions: either the State Department is allowing persons who are members of terrorist groups into the country or the Defense Department bases the continuing detention of the alleged enemy combatants on a false premise.
...Since the Defense Department list differs substantially from the Department of State Other Lists and the Patriot Act Terrorist Exclusion List, both cannot be accurate. Either the Defense Department is improperly identifying terrorist organizations and unnecessarily detaining alleged enemy combatants, or the State Department is not properly prohibiting terrorists from entering the United States.
Background on the first report is here.
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