Leaked info shows haggling on detainees

Nov. 30, 2010 at 7:51 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- State Department cables released by WikiLeaks reveal U.S. efforts to reduce the detainee population at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, so the facility could close.

American diplomats sought countries willing to accept the former prisoners and could be trusted to watch them carefully, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The leaked cables indicate U.S. officials wrangled with their foreign counterparts to resettle detainees cleared for release but could not be returned to their home countries for fear of reprisal.

Some of the give-and-take in the more than 250,000 documents released by WikiLeaks and published by the Times and four European newspapers include Slovenia being encourage to "do more" on detainee resettlement if it wanted to "attract higher-level attention" from Washington and the administration of George W. Bush offering the Pacific nation of Kiribati a $3 million incentive package to accept 17 Chinese Muslim detainees.

In 2009, when Obama ordered the Guantanamo Bay prison closed, the Bush administration already had transferred more than 500 of the detainees it had sent to the detention facility. The Obama administration since has reduced the population from 240 to 174.

Obama administration officials have condemned the leaks, saying they were published without consideration of any consequences and endangered lives. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday said world leaders needed frank assessments from envoys in the field to help shape their foreign policy and she did not expect U.S. relationships with other countries to be damaged.

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