House panel report raps Gitmo policies

Feb. 9, 2012 at 7:26 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A report by the U.S. House armed services panel raps the Obama and Bush administrations for their policies on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainees.

The unclassified report, obtained by The New York Times, gives a critical evaluation of detainee policies for the decade and recommends Congress-imposed restrictions on further prisoner transfers remain in place, saying the executive branch must take fewer risks in releasing detainees by better assessing terrorist or insurgent activities by former detainees.

The committee was to take up the report Thursday.

"Despite the earnest and well-meaning efforts by officials in both administrations, properly evaluating detainees and ensuring that their cases were handled appropriately by receiving countries was, and remains, a challenge," the report said.

It said political pressures at home and the "desire to earn good will abroad" led executive branch officials down a path of recklessness.

Democrats on the committee have circulated a draft dissent that criticizes the report as failing "to analyze in depth the strategic issues and concerns that resulted in each administration separately reaching the same conclusion: That it is in the strategic and national security interest of the United States to transfer low-risk detainees" from the prison as part of a process to shutter it.

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