Say What? White House Errs on Guantanamo Facts

Obama administration claims about Gitmo are riddled with inaccuracies.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


This story first appeared on the ProPublica website.

Yesterday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs made two claims about the administration’s handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay that overstated its progress in clearing the prison. According to Gibbs, the administration has carried out large-scale transfers and releases of detainees out of the prison. But those claims are incorrect.

In describing efforts to send some detainees home or to third-country hosts, Gibbs told reporters: “More of those transfers have taken place in the past eight months than have taken – than took place in the previous eight years.”

In fact, in the last eight months, 31 detainees have been transferred out of Guantanamo to other countries.  In the eight years previous, more than 520 detainees were sent home or to third countries.

In total, 32 detainees have been transferred since Obama was inaugurated. In the last year of the Bush administration, 36 detainees were transferred out of Guantanamo.   

We’ve asked the White House for comment and will update when we get it.

Gibbs also claimed that the White House has complied with all court orders to release detainees who won their habeas petitions in US courts in the District of Columbia.  

“We have transferred those [detainees] that courts have said shouldn’t be held [at Guantanamo] to either their home country or third-party countries,” Gibbs told reporters at Wednesday’s briefing.

Yet, there are outstanding court orders for the release of 10 detainees at Guantanamo. Seven of the 10 are Chinese Muslims who are ethnic Uighurs. The Uighurs were ordered released in October, 2008. But the government is struggling to find countries to take them. In the meantime, the Uighurs have a case pending in the Supreme Court seeking their release into the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate