On Sunday, the Department of Defense released a statement saying the Obama administration's current Guantanamo Review Task Force has in some cases come to the same conclusions as the 2002-2009 assessments, and "in other instances the review task force came to different conclusions, based on updated or other available information."
Any lingering doubts about the eight men and the quality of their statements were rarely listed when their information appeared in the case files of other detainees. Guantanamo officials were so pleased with Basardah's work, for example, that his identifying a fellow detainee was used as an example in a guide to "threat indicators."
But in a 2009 opinion ordering the Pentagon to release Guantanamo detainee Saeed Mohammed Saleh Hatim, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina pointed out that Basardah's allegations about Hatim were collected several years after Guantanamo interrogators knew there were problems.
While the government maintained that Basardah provided interrogators with "accurate, reliable information," Urbina said that Basardah had been flagged as early as May 2002 by a Guantanamo interrogator who did not recommend using him for further intelligence gathering "due in part to mental and emotional problems (and) limited knowledgeability."
The interrogation in which Basardah fingered Hatim for operating heavy weapons on the front lines in Afghanistan happened in January 2006.
For Human Rights Watch senior counterterror counsel Andrea Prasow, who earlier in her career defended several Guantanamo captives, the military's heavy reliance on such prison camp snitches vindicates the role of federal judges in analyzing the Pentagon's patchwork of cases.
"But for habeas," she said Monday, "we'd never have known that Basardah was a liar."
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler took a similar view of Basardah in the unlawful detention lawsuit of Guantanamo detainee Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed. Kessler referred to Basardah as having "shown himself to be an unreliable source whose statements have little evidentiary value."
Kessler also wrote of the U.S. government's case against Ahmed and other Guantanamo detainees that "the mosaic theory is only as persuasive as the tiles which compose it ... if the individual pieces of a mosaic are inherently flawed or do not fit together, then the mosaic will split apart."
Basardah was not named publicly in either case, but his identity is clear after comparing the new Guantanamo files and the court cases.
In both cases, the judges ruled that the detainees should be freed.
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