WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was used to jail admitted terrorists as well as innocent people, files leaked by WikiLeaks indicate.
More than 700 classified military documents offer new accounts of the alleged terrorists detained at the military prison, as well as evidence against the 172 men still imprisoned there, The New York Times reported Monday.
The documents, made available to the Times and other news organizations, reveal that most of the remaining prisoners are classified as being a "high risk" threat to the United States and its allies if released without proper supervision. They also indicate that about a third of the 600 detainees released to other countries were designated "high risk" before their incarceration at Guantanamo Bay ended.
The Defense Department condemned the release of the documents, including assessments of the detainees by military intelligence officials, the Times said.
"It is unfortunate that The New York Times and other news organizations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks concerning the Guantanamo detention facility," a statement read. "These documents contain classified information about current and former GTMO detainees and we strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information."
The Detainee Assessment Briefs written between 2002 and early 2009 that were released by WikiLeaks were reviewed by the Guantanamo Review Task Force when it re-examined detainee information, the Pentagon said. The task force, begun in 2009, sometimes agreed with the initial assessment, and sometimes it did not.
"The assessments of the Guantanamo Review Task Force have not been compromised to WikiLeaks," the Pentagon said. "Thus, any given [Detainee Assessment Brief] illegally obtained and released by WikiLeaks may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee."
The documents indicate al-Qaida terrorists reportedly planted a nuclear device somewhere in Europe and threatened to unleash a "nuclear hellstorm" if Osama bin Laden is caught or assassinated, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported. The Telegraph also received access to the documents that WikiLeaks obtained.
A plot to put cyanide in air-conditioning units of public buildings across the United States was exposed along with several plans to attack the country's infrastructure, the documents showed.
The files of the 780 people who spent time in the Guantanamo facility include their medical condition and the information they have provided during interrogations, the Telegraph reported. About 220 of the people detained were assessed to be dangerous international terrorists and about 380 people were determined to be lower-level foot-soldiers.
At least 150 people were found to be innocent Afghans or Pakistanis, the documents indicated. Senior U.S. commanders determined that, in dozens of cases, there is "no reason recorded for transfer," the documents said.
Soon after his swearing-in, President Barack Obama pledged to close the facility and conduct open trials for those found to have committed crimes.
The Pentagon statement said the administrations of Obama and former President George W. Bush "made every effort to act with the utmost care and diligence in transferring detainees from Guantanamo."
"Both administrations have made the protection of American citizens the top priority and we are concerned that the disclosure of these documents could be damaging to those efforts," the statement said. "That said, we will continue to work with allies and partners around the world to mitigate threats to the U.S. and other countries and to work toward the ultimate closure of the Guantanamo detention facility, consistent with good security practices and our values as a nation."