A federal judge has once again slapped down an element of Chimpy’s “enemy combatant” detainee policy.
A federal judge has ordered the Pentagon to release the names and nationalities of hundreds of prisoners detained at Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, rejecting the government’s argument that it would be a violation of their privacy and expose them to retaliation by terrorist groups.
The ruling, issued yesterday by Judge Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan, came in a lawsuit brought by The Associated Press in April 2005 under the Freedom of Information Act. The suit sought to force the Pentagon to release transcripts of military tribunal hearings held to determine whether the detainees at Guantnamo had been properly categorized as “enemy combatants.”
Last year, the Pentagon released the transcripts of 558 tribunals but blacked out the names and other basic identifying information about the prisoners. In his new ruling, which he described as “final,” Judge Rakoff ordered the Defense Department to turn over “unredacted copies” of the transcripts to the news agency.
In his January ruling, Judge Rakoff barred the Pentagon from evoking an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act that allows information to be withheld if publishing it would be an unwarranted violation of personal privacy. He also said the Defense Department had offered only “thin and conclusory speculation” to support its claims that terrorist groups might attack the prisoners or their families.
Pentagon lawyers asked the judge to reconsider that ruling, arguing that publishing the prisoners’ names would violate the privacy of their families. In his opinion yesterday, Judge Rakoff rejected that argument.
Hundreds of detainees have bene kept for years in facilities that are no different from your local kennel and the Assministration claims they are trying to protect the prisoners’ privacy? Give me a break.