< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://davejustus.com/" >

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Ghost Detainees

New York Times:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, acting at the request of George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, ordered military officials in Iraq last November to hold a man suspected of being a senior Iraqi terrorist at a high-level detention center there but not list him on the prison's rolls, senior Pentagon and intelligence officials said Wednesday. This prisoner and other "ghost detainees" were hidden largely to prevent the International Committee of the Red Cross from monitoring their treatment, and to avoid disclosing their location to an enemy, officials said.
I expect that the main reason was avoiding disclosing their location, which would be a result of the ICRC monitoring the treatment. It makes sense to me that when you pick up a terrorist, especially a high level one, you want to keep it secret for a bit to better your chances of capturing the terrorists other buddies. Obviously there is a time limit on both the effectiveness and morality of this practice. While there is probably room for argument as to what that limit is, eight months is pretty clearly past it.
Seven months later, however, the detainee - a reputed senior officer of Ansar al-Islam, a group the United States has linked to Al Qaeda and blames for some attacks in Iraq - is still languishing at the prison but has only been questioned once while in detention, in what government officials acknowledged was an extraordinary lapse. "Once he was placed in military custody, people lost track of him," a senior intelligence official conceded Wednesday night. "The normal review processes that would keep track of him didn't."
Basically, Tenet said lets not tell anyone we have this guy for a bit to try to get his friends. Rumsfeld said ok, and the orders went out. Then everyone forgot about the prisoner. That was a mistake. But the mistake was in the forgetting part, not the initial orders. In some ways our military is a marvel of efficiency, in others, as anyone who has talked to anyone in the military knows, it is bureaucratic and inefficient.


Post a Comment

<< Home