The files don’t exist

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

After Barack Obama signed that long-awaited and much-anticipated executive order to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and conduct a thorough review of the case files for each and every detainee by a cabinet-level panel, a significant spanner was tossed in the works.

On many of the detainees, there are no case files.  Instead, information on many of the individual detainees is “scattered throughout the executive branch,”  so that ‘cabinet level panel’ will spend the first weeks of their task looking for information and relevant materials.  

Several former Bush administration officials agreed that the files are incomplete and that no single government entity was charged with pulling together all the facts and the range of options for each prisoner. They said that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were reluctant to share information, and that the Bush administration’s focus on detention and interrogation made preparation of viable prosecutions a far lower priority.

Put plainly – when you are reverse-engineering convictions you don’t put things in files that might end up running counter to your desired outcome.  

As a result of the incompetence of the previous administration, some truly dangerous people have been released, and truly innocent people have been held without charge or trial for years on end.  

A former Bush administration official, unwilling to allow his names to be used, insists that the Obama administration will come to the same conclusions.  

“All but about 60 who have been approved for release,” assuming countries can be found to accept them, “are either high-level al-Qaeda people responsible for 9/11 or bombings, or were high-level Taliban or al-Qaeda facilitators or money people,” said the former official who, like others, insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters about such matters. He acknowledged that he relied on Pentagon assurances that the files were comprehensive and in order rather than reading them himself.

Obama officials said they want to make their own judgments.

“The consensus among almost everyone is that the current system is not in our national interest and not sustainable,” another senior official said. But “it’s clear that we can’t clear up this issue overnight” partly because the files “are not comprehensive.”

Charles D. “Cully” Stimson, who served as deputy assistant defense secretary for detainee affairs in 2006-2007, said he had persistent problems in attempts to assemble all information on individual cases. Threats to recommend the release or transfer of a detainee were often required, he said, to persuade the CIA to “cough up a sentence or two.”

The disarray in assembling the case files is so severe that one former prosecutor at Guantanamo asked to be relieved of his duties, in the formal request he cited as a reason that evidence was “strewn throughout the prosecution offices in desk drawers, bookcases packed with vaguely-labeled plastic containers, or even simply piled on the tops of desks.”   He said he once accidentally found “crucial physical evidence” that “had been tossed in a locker located at Guantanamo and promptly forgotten.”

I read about this, and I feel personally betrayed.  My entire life has been spent in service to this country.  I was born into it, carried it on, and married into it, too.  We faced down an ideological adversary that violated human rights, ignored due process and locked people up for life after specious show-trials.  And less than twenty years later, we became something worse.  

Personally betrayed?  That is an understatement of what I feel right now. This is not my America.  I have spent the last eight years wanting my country back.  

Now I have it, and I don’t recognize it.  

Damn them all straight to hell for this.  Public hanging with a new rope is too good for these traitorous, limp-dick, torture-porn-loving perverted fucks.  


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    • Blue Girl on January 26, 2009 at 1:04 am

    First diary, first comment – school me in your internet traditions about which I should be aware…I am a good student.

    • Edger on January 26, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Welcome to DD. Might have to go drag george out of a bottle somewhere to arrest him, though. 😉

    • Alma on January 26, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Our only tradition is to be excellent to each other.  I think you’ll like it here.

  1. I read about this today and had the same reaction I do to most of these Bushco messes…wondering if we’re dealing with evil incompetence or incompetent evil.

    Critical physical evidence tossed in a locker and forgotten???????????

    Something tells me that we’ll be hearing lots of these kinds of stories over the next few months.

  2. Gee, can’t you just imagine a doctor offering such lame excuses for the records of his patients.  My thoughts:  They were ordered NOT to keep any kind of consistent records, only “scattered” accountings — “they” KNEW any kind of solidpaper trail would ultimately be damaging!  

    I feel the same as you state in your last sentence — all warranted feelings!

    Thank you for this, Blue Girl!


    • Edger on January 26, 2009 at 2:29 am

    A second former Pentagon official said most individual files are heavily summarized dossiers that do not contain the kind of background and investigative work that would be put together by a federal prosecution team. He described “regular food fights” among different parts of the government over information-sharing on the detainees.

    Food fights? I guess that’s to be expected when you have a tribe of howler monkeys in charge for years, each one sitting on top of his own little hill trying to be top howler?

  3. …ah…I mean “indigenous freedom fighters”, or rather those persons listed/recruited by the CIA to fight the Russians in Afghanistan when they were after oil pipelines, you know “the database” in Arabic translates as “Al-Qeada”.

    Gee the story has changed so much even I can’t get it straight.

    • OPOL on January 26, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Welcome to Docudharma.

    • Blue Girl on January 26, 2009 at 8:27 am

    And y’all feel free to come by They gave us a republic and weigh in any time!

    And OPOL!  I am especially glad to see you!  It is my recollection that we have met in the physical realm. Or as my 20-something kids call it, ‘the meat world.’    

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