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. changeisgreat

    Hey, Jameel, why don't you have these animals live in your neighborhood.....????

    January 22, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. Will Work for Health Care

    Alright... alright, just charge them with something. Anything! Maybe the ACLU will pay for their lawyers. These "people" are dangerous... period. Better there with any charge then them retraining and laughing about it in Yemen or elsewhere.

    January 22, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Scottsdale Hokie

    Obama = Bush II

    January 22, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. Gary, Sacramento

    The headline to this article should read: Obama Commission Admits Bush Was Right.

    January 22, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. ric

    Boo hoo.

    January 22, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. Michael

    Under the Geneva Conventions these people forfeited any human rights when they plotted military action against people in a non-uniformed way.

    Most, if not all, of these people are at least attempted murders. The second you choose to end human life, especially if you're being sneaky and hiding behind civilians, you no longer have any rights.

    January 22, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. John D.

    None of these people should be brought into the Country. They should all be tried by the Military and kept in prison offshore. Serve them right. Do you hear that Mr. President!

    January 22, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. Keith in Austin

    Left-wing liberals running amuck!

    Remember 9/11 you twits? Blame Bush for everything while our enemies laugh at you!

    January 22, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. Chanel

    Yes another broken promise, but reality is harsh. We KNOW he wants to close Guantinmo Bay, but if he doesn't and holds these guys indefinitely, the public should realize how serious they threaten National Security and support him. We do not see those briefs. The public does not know how grave the situation may be. @ least this time the POTUS is not playing politics.

    January 22, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  10. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Under the organized rules of warfare, we have every right to execute combattants who are not in uniform as spies and/or sabateurs. We should have done that years ago.

    It's a lot easier to sit on the sidelines and criticize than to actually govern, eh, Obama?

    I know the ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights would love to free these terrorists so they can attack us again. Maybe they should get the Taliban to open chapters for them in Pakistan.

    January 22, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. ib

    Begining to look like Bush's plan wasn't so bad after all even according to Obama.

    January 22, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  12. valwayne

    Is it possible in a nation where we are on track to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, while we have 10% UNEMPLOYMENT, to give the murdering terrorists who planned 9/11 Circus trials and a world stage in NYC, and where the Underwear Bomber remains standing silent, without being interrogated, on the advice of his attorney, that a tiny glimmer of common sense has come out of Eric Holder's justice dept and the Obama administration? Just a glimmer?

    January 22, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. mercury6

    It's tough when the weight of truth bears down on you. President Obama is realizing now that he can be either a nice guy or he can protect the American public from some pretty scary individuals, but he cannot do both. Closing Gitmo was always a window dressing meant to appease the bleeding hearts that don't realize exactly how hardcore some of these folks are. I always gave Bush a bit of slack, because he had to walk ground zero among the burning bodies of people he failed to protect- something that I am sure creates a different world view than most Americans enjoy. President Obama is now feeling that weight and has to understand the political and moral implications if his administrations policies cause or allow more American civilians to die.

    January 22, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  14. Michael from Ventura

    Nunya has it right. This continuation of tyranny is NOT acceptable to Freedom loving people. Our Country is better than this.

    January 22, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. Tim

    So wait, let me get this straight. Obama and all of those wonderless souls who follow him are all flash an no substance? Who would have thought it?

    Oh, wait, I thought it.

    Leave Gitmo open and let all of them rot there. That is where they belong. Quit giving me your hollier than thou attitude. They are enemy combatants, and under the rules of law, they are not entitled to trials, let alone respect.

    Maybe the ACLU can pursue a "take a terrorist home with you for a year" program with all their wonderful members. I'm sure they'll all step up to the plate to do what is right.

    Why is it that the ACLU carries any weight in this country. Their positions are abhorent, their more concerned with the rights of terrorists and pedophiles than they are with my rights. How can we whack them in the proverbial (or not so proverbial) knees?

    January 22, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. Right Leaning Independent

    This is too funny to be real!! You mean Obama has figured out what Bush knew?? What to do? What to do?

    January 22, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  17. Tim

    So wait, let me get this straight. Obama and all of those wonderless souls who follow him are all flash an no substance? Who would have thought it?

    Oh, wait, I thought it.

    Leave Gitmo open and let all of them rot there. That is where they belong. Quit giving me your hollier than thou attitude. They are enemy combatants, and under the rules of law, they are not entitled to trials, let alone respect.

    Maybe the ACLU can pursue a "take a terrorist home with you for a year" program with all their wonderful members. I'm sure they'll all step up to the plate to do what is right.

    Why is it that the ACLU carries any weight in this country. Their positions are abhorent, their more concerned with the rights of terrorists and pedophiles than they are with my rights.

    January 22, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    Our foreign enemies in the world need no more fight. Just buy up US corporations and you will get to control the best government money can buy. Our Supreme Court just gave you all in the East, West and Middle a free pass to our freedom.

    January 22, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  19. Ms S Callahan

    Well , how is this any diferent than holding the pedophilles 'after' they serve their sentences? If they are dangerous then why aren't their charges...how do you define dangerous?

    January 22, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. Ancient Texan

    Do any of you realize that during WWII, the United States had over 425,000 German and Axis allies imprisioned here in America in over 640 prision camps? President Roosevelt suspended habeas corpus until the war was over for these prisoners. The were true prisoners of war, wearing uniforms, with service numbers, etc. Enemy combatents have no uniform, no country, and no service number and not even the rights of the Geneva convention. Can you imagine the confusion if the ACLU in 1941-1945 was involved in giving trials in civilian courts to this number of individuals? The trials would still be going on.

    January 22, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Ken in NC

    People keep talking about how we need to interrogate these prisoners for information. That is so funny. Consider for a moment that these prisoners have been held in captivity for as much as 5 or 6 years. You tell me. How much accurate or relevant information do you think they have to give after being out of circulation for so many years?

    January 22, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  22. texasgreenacres

    where is my comment? afraid of the truth?Can;t handle America created this mess? Can't handle that we do this to our own citizens here today?THEN BY GOD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

    January 22, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Right Leaning Independent

    Happy Anniversary Gitmo closing date! I guess there will not be a "Mission Accomplished" banner hanging behind Obama any time soon..... BTW, why nothing from CNN on this failed promise?

    January 22, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  24. sayWHAT?

    I love to read comments saying we should treat them with all the rights of american citizens, one question ARE YOU INSANE or just blind to reality?These same men would not hesitate for one second before chopping your head off on video. I guess i have a biased opinion because ive been to afghanistan and enjoyed the hospitality that they showed us and would love for the United States of America to return the favor.

    January 22, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  25. A Former Soldier

    The real issue is how to deal with this problem. Unlike most wars you are not facing a country but a religion. This is a battle against extremists in the Muslim faith. Just like extremists in the Christian faith who blow up abortion clinics, these are people who convinced the only solution is to kill. Think about the 4 that returned to fighting when release from Gitmo. The only way I see to win this war is to convince the extremists their faith is not a true following of their beliefs.

    January 22, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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