January 22nd, 2010
04:42 PM ET
4 years ago

Gitmo detainee recommendations outrage civil liberties groups

 A recommendation by the Obama administration's Guantanamo Detainee Review Task Force to continue holding nearly 50 detainees indefinitely without charges sparked fury among civil liberties groups Friday.
A recommendation by the Obama administration's Guantanamo Detainee Review Task Force to continue holding nearly 50 detainees indefinitely without charges sparked fury among civil liberties groups Friday.

Washington (CNN) - A recommendation by the Obama administration's Guantanamo Detainee Review Task Force to continue holding nearly 50 detainees indefinitely without charges sparked fury among civil liberties groups Friday.

The recommendation, confirmed to CNN by two government sources not authorized to release the information, was completed by a task force under the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder and sent to President Barack Obama for final approval.

The confidential review recommending a disposition for each of the 196 remaining Guantanamo detainees was first reported by the Washington Post.

The review proposes that 47 detainees be held without charges or trial because they are considered too dangerous to release, and because trials could jeopardize intelligence and harm national security, government sources said.

"If you close Guantanamo but leave individuals detained without charge or trial you're just making a cosmetic change," Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project, told CNN.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented several Guantanamo detainees in federal court cases, blasted the administration.

"Today was supposed to be the deadline by which President Obama would close Guantanamo. Now it will be the anniversary of the president's decision to abandon our most fundamental constitutional principles, the center said in a written statement.

Amnesty International USA chimed in with a stinging criticism.

"If the president accepts the DOJ task force recommendation to hold anyone indefinitely, this policy will not keep Americans safe; instead it will ensure that Guantanamo will continue to be al Qaeda's top recruiting tool," said Tom Parker, Amnesty's policy director for counterterrorism.

Federal officials expect to imprison the group to be held under the laws of war in a facility in the United States. If Congress approves funding, the most likely site is a prison in Thomson, Illinois.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill usually allied with the liberal interest groups privately expressed initial reluctance to issue public statements. Public opinion polls show a majority of voters now oppose closing Guantanamo Bay military prison and trying terrorism suspects in the United States.

A senior administration official cautioned against concluding that all the task force recommendations will be approved, and said numbers that have been reported may ultimately prove to be wrong.

Sources familiar with the report said the task force has recommended 35 detainees face either civilian trials or military commissions in the United States.

The remaining approximately 110 detainees - most of them from Yemen - are eligible to be transferred to their homeland or a third country once officials determine they can be held securely in their home country or a suitable third country will take them.

The recommendations of the Detainee Review Task Force were received on the date Obama set exactly a year ago as the deadline for closing the prison facility at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay. The administration now concedes it may be many more months if not longer before the prison can be emptied.


Filed under: Guantanamo Bay
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Nunya

    Holding them indefinitely without charges is just as unconscionable under the Obama administration as it was under the Bush administration.

    January 22, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. Objective Thinking

    This was completely despicable when Bush was detaining prisoners without charging them. But this is Obama we're talking about. If Obama wants to do it, it's okay.

    January 22, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  3. Jon-In-Ca

    LOL... Barack blames Bush for every problem – yet quietly follows the Bush playbook when it comes to Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.??

    I'm sorry ... where exactly is the Hope and Change we were promised??

    January 22, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    And people say Obama needs to govern more in the 'center'. The 'left' hasn't gotten anything this year. Anyone that says Obama is to far to the 'left' isn't being serious. What a tragedy this is.

    January 22, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Albert K. L.A., CA

    The war powers of the President is a hard fact for many Americans to accept. The Japanese American internment in 1942 has been discussed for decades, Congress even paying up some money but no amendment or case law taking the power away and there should not be. It was wrong in 1942 to intern so many without any specific concerns on them but here the facts are different. To strip the president of war powers in this case would be as just as wrong but with a far worst result which no money from Congress could even begin to be a tokin apology for.

    January 22, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Bush was right on Gitmo.....

    we cannot be reading Miranda rights to terrorist bombers and then fixing them up with lawyers at taxpayer expense.......because once we lawyer them up, they don't talk.........we need to interrogate them to get information that will save American lives......

    It's us or them......

    January 22, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. Marc L

    Reality check time. It doesn't matter what your so called morals are concerning the detention of these men. It is a fact that they pose a serious danger to national security. There is no ideal solution to this problem, only the most practical. Welcome President Obama to the world of making decisions that affect the lives of millions of people with differing views and interests. It is called picking hairs. Ideals exist only in our minds, not in reality. I think President Bush was fully aware of this fact.

    January 22, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Lorita

    I will be so glad when people finally get it we are at war. The War to End all Wars is right. Get used to it. This isn't about the Book of Revelations. Maybe parts of Hebrews. Most definately this is about many dictates through the doctrines (if you can call it that) of Islam. Wake up and smell the blood. Jesus warned us. Hitler should of been something to gain insight from but apparently the Western World is going to be lost to idiots who don't get it we are at war. And will be long after the next few generations are dust. Gitmo should never be closed and if it is, another one built elsewhere to take its place.

    January 22, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    And we have our Obama Lie of the Day.
    I've lost count.

    January 22, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  10. Steph

    The problem is where do you send them if they are from a country like Yemen or they've made threats against America while at Gitmo. This is just another mess created by our former president. He ordered our troops to grab everyone they could without thought about what to do with them. Now we have people who probably weren't radicalized before, just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but they sure are radicalized now. Thanks again Bush, and let's not forget, Cheney! Boy could that duo take swift action without a plan to finish what they started!

    January 22, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. all the news that's fit to omit

    Funny how the bleating liar told the flock he was going to do this and close GITMO and have HC on C-SPAN and nobody under $250,000 would see their taxes raised a PENNY (sorry CNN does not have enough disk space to post them all).

    I agree with this move as HE NOW KNOWS what it is like to be in charge, it isn't too easy when you wear the big boy pants is it Mr NEVER ran nothing but his mouth.

    How will the MSM and the sheep spin this?

    My bad, IT'S BUSH'S fault.

    January 22, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  12. knowwhentoholdem

    the civil liberty unions would turn them loose on the streets of america if they had the chance. dumb idea.These are the same detainees whose groups were responsible for 911 and the beheadings of americans on tv.make the punishment fit the crime.go ahead and get it done

    January 22, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  13. conservative

    The people who are in a snit are not in the majority at all! They are activists for an ideology at odds with most Americans! ( See Massachusetts)

    January 22, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. L for Legend

    If the release was UNAUTHORIZED, it should not be reported, even by CNN!!!!

    January 22, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. Rickster

    Every member of the ACLU should be held indefinitely without charges as well.

    January 22, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. Jim - Michigan

    Round up these groups, drop them off in Afghanistan, after 12 months, and assuming they survive we can pick them up and ask them their opions of prisoner rights versus the safety and rights of Americans.

    January 22, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. The Lefties have Lost It

    The military should have waterboarded the hell out of them. Got all the info they could and then shot them. Problem solved and no worries of them ever doing anything to anyone again. The world can definitely do without terroists deemed to dangerous to let loose. I say we should ship them to a country that has no problem executing them.

    January 22, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. Orange Curtain, CA

    Just be grateful we have a REAL President that doesn't allow his V.P. to brag about how much he loves to torture prisoners that have not been charged or proven to have committed a crime.

    If they're are deemed as "dangerous" then that means they shouldn't be let out to spread their hate. Keep them locked up then. It's not rocket science.

    January 22, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. shmeckell

    Closing gitmo was a suggestion made before knowing any of the facts. It was warm hearted suggestion made by someone seeking the Whitehouse. He won the election, got into the Whitehouse, saw the facts, and it was a bad suggestion.

    January 22, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Neo monarchist

    Civil Liberties groups outrage the American people. I say move these Jihadists dogs to San Francisco and let the smarmy Progressives take them in.

    January 22, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. obama the liar

    Please keep gitmo open...we will be sending two more people there in three years..Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano...the other guy is going to make a plea deal.

    January 22, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. Scott

    If you're a terrorist, you should be executed or in prison for life. If you're not, then you should be let go, not held indefinitely with no chance to prove your innocence. It's scary and un-American that one person, the president, can simply say "you're a terrorist" and have you locked up forever with no chance whatsoever to prove your innocence. Obama promised so many changes, but he's just continuing the wars and civil rights abuses of GWB.

    January 22, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  23. Babaganusch

    I wonder when we can expect to hear Pres. Obama profusely apologize to Pres. Bush and his administration for calling them every name in the book for holding Gitmo enemy combatants without charges?

    January 22, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Gerry NH

    These terrorist need to stay right where they are and be given a military trial. Everyone of them have pleaded guitl already. The next step is to get the firing squads out.

    January 22, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  25. N

    Now this is what i believed would happen when I heard claims of change.

    And everyone called me a flat earther bushling.

    Ha.

    January 22, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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