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WikiLeaks publishes Guantanamo detainee documents

By the CNN Wire Staff
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WikiLeaks reveals terrorist information
  • WikiLeaks begins releasing documents on Guantanamo detainees
  • It says it is describing cases against nearly 760 prisoners
  • The Obama administration disapproves of the documents release

(CNN) -- WikiLeaks' latest release of secret documents provides details on the behavior and treatment of detainees being held at the U.S. Navy's detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Classified military files described some as being compliant while others threatened violence against guards and one stated he would fly planes into houses, according to the WikiLeaks documents.

In a statement accompanying Sunday's release of the first of 700 classified files, WikiLeaks said the documents dating from 2002 to 2008 are "shining the light of truth on a notorious icon of the Bush administration's 'War on Terror'" and were described in memoranda from the joint task force at Guantanamo to U.S. Southern Command in Florida.

"Most of these documents reveal accounts of incompetence familiar to those who have studied Guantanamo closely, with innocent men detained by mistake (or because the U.S. was offering substantial bounties to its allies for al-Qaeda or Taliban suspects), and numerous insignificant Taliban conscripts from Afghanistan and Pakistan," the anti-secrecy website said.

Most of the 171 remaining prisoners at Guantanamo have been rated as a "high risk" of posing a threat if released without adequate rehabilitation and supervision.

But, according to The New York Times -- one of several news organizations that saw the files -- an even larger number of the prisoners who have left Cuba were also designated "high risk" before they were freed or passed to the custody of other governments.

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The documents are largely silent about the use of the harsh interrogation tactics at Guantanamo that drew global condemnation, according to the Times.

The documents are intelligence assessments of nearly every one of the 779 individuals who have been held at Guantanamo since 2002, according to the Washington Post, which also saw them.

The documents offer glimpses into whereabouts and operations of Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Post reported.

Four days after the Sept. 11 attacks, bin Laden visited a guesthouse in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, according to the files, which detailed his movements over the next few months.

CNN was not among the news organizations granted early access to the latest files.

The U.S. government, as in previous document dumps by WiKiLeaks, expressed disapproval at their release.

"It is unfortunate that several news organizations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks concerning the Guantanamo detention facility," said Dan Fried, the U.S. envoy for Guantanamo, and Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell in a joint statement. "These documents contain classified information about current and former GTMO detainees, and we strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information."

According to the government's statement, the WikiLeaks releases include detainee assessment briefs (DABs) written by the U.S. Department of Defense.

"The Guantanamo Review Task Force, established in January 2009, considered the DABs during its review of detainee information. In some cases, the Task Force came to the same conclusions as the DABs. In other instances the Review Task Force came to different conclusions, based on updated or other available information. The assessments of the Guantanamo Review Task Force have not been compromised to Wikileaks. Thus, any given DAB illegally obtained and released by Wikileaks may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee."

The Obama administration has repeated its determination to close the terrorist detention facility.

Under the Obama administration, 126 detainees have been approved for transfer and 59 of those still remain at the Navy base. A total of 171 men still remain in detention at Guantanamo, including those awaiting prosecution and those deemed too dangerous to release but not feasible for prosecution. During the Bush administration, 537 detainees were transferred, including almost 200 to Afghanistan.

The Obama administration announced earlier this month it would hold military trials at Guantanamo for the suspected conspirators of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. That decision will delay indefinitely plans to close the detention facility.

WikiLeaks gained international prominence after leaking thousands of papers about the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. Earlier this year it released a huge cache of secret American diplomatic papers.