[JURIST] The US Department of Defense late Friday released the names of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act [text; summary] request filed by the Associated Press and later pressed in a lawsuit [AP report]. The names appear in transcripts of Combatant Status Review Tribunal [DOD materials] proceedings in which military panels reviewed whether detainees were properly classed as "enemy combantant". It is not clear whether absolutely all detainees – including possible secret "ghost detainees" held by the US – are referenced in the over 5000 pages of documentation. Transcripts previously released to AP had the names of detainees blacked out, although some detainees' names and nationalities became officially known [JURIST report] in April from filings in federal court [AP documents list] challenging their detentions. AP has more.
Last week, a federal judge ordered [JURIST report] DOD to release the names by March 3. The Washington Post has independently compiled an unofficial list of the names of approximately 450 detainees.
6:54 PM ET – A Department of Defense press release quotes a "senior official speaking on background":
"We removed the information from the transcripts that identified the detainees," the official said. "Detainee personal information was removed … because of concern of potential harm to detainees if the documents were made public."
In some cases, detainees made incriminating statements about other detainees or about others in their home countries. In others, detainees made statements that could be taken by enemy forces as "disloyal acts" against them, and in other transcripts detainees indicated that they had cooperated with U.S. forces, acts that could be held against them in their countries.
These situations and others "could result in retaliation against the detainee from other detainees at Guantanamo or against their families in their home countries," the official said.
The documents released Friday, relating to some 317 of the 490 detainees currently held at Guantanamo, are available via the Defense Department's Freedom of Information Act website
and, directly, here