Monday, March 07, 2005
Gitmo's hidden costs.
Not too long ago, I had a conversation with one of the top terrorist/Al Qaeda trackers in Scotland Yard. I asked if in his view any of the five or so British citizens who had been detained and later released from Guantanamo were a serious threat. These individuals had become darlings of the British press, talking about how they had been innocent victims and had no relationships to al Qaeda. They spoke openly about the abuse they suffered.
The response from this Scotland Yard guy was important. He said that he had no doubt at all that each of the five (maybe six) detainees was guilty and a serious threat. However, he said that Americans had extracted information from these people in extra-legal circumstances and that none of the discovered information could be used in British courts to charge these alleged criminals.
He said he was bothered by Guantanamo on many grounds -- but the chief reason being that it undermined British security by pursuing a course with these detainees that put them beyond British law when he saw no reason why these people could not have been tried and convicted with the evidence that Scotland Yard had been assembling.
The British had no choice but to immediately release these Guantanamo detainees. That said, he told me that they are all being carefully watched and monitored.
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