I came to understand that there were several different reasons for the refusal to release detainees in Guantanamo, even those who were likely innocent. These reasons continued to the time of my departure from the Department of State in 2005. At least part of the problem was that it was politically impossible to release them. The concern expressed was that if they were released to another country, even an ally such as the United Kingdom, the leadership of the Defense Department would be left without any plausible explanation to the American people, whether the released detainee was subsequently found to be innocent by the receiving country, or whether the detainee was truly a terrorist and, upon release were it to then occur, would return to the war against the U.S.

Another concern was that the detention efforts at Guantanamo would be revealed as the incredibly confused operation that they were. Such results were not acceptable to the Administration and would have been severely detrimental to the leadership at DOD.