The Blog

Gitmo Transparency

1:03 PM, Jun 26, 2009 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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In recent weeks, European nations have come forward to say they are considering taking, or will take, some Gitmo detainees. Since January, Europe has only accepted a handful of detainees under special circumstances. The Obama administration wants Europe to take more, but the European nations have been less than helpful. It appears that is beginning to change, as more and more reports indicate that some European nations are considering accepting a handful of detainees each.

But there is something curious about these reports. The detainees in question are infrequently, if ever, named.

So, we learn that Ireland is considering taking two Uzbeks. Which ones? We don't know. There are at least four Uzbeks left at Gitmo from which to choose, and press reports don't name them.

Portugal may take two or three detainees, but the government has yet to say "which countries they might be from or whether they would be treated as prisoners in Portugal as well."

Italy has agreed to take at least three Tunisians detained at Gitmo, but we are not sure which ones because they have not been named in press accounts either. President Obama trumpeted the agreement with Italy after his meeting with Prime Minister Berlusconi earlier this month.

"This is not just talk, Italy has agreed to accept three specific detainees," Obama said. But as Agence France Presse noted, "There were no immediate details on the identity of the detainees."

Perhaps somewhere in the media ether the names of all these detainees who are either being considered for transfer, or are already scheduled to be transferred to Europe, have been spelled out. But I have not seen them, and I have looked.

That is curious, no? You would think the most transparent administration in history would want people to know the names of the detainees it is transferring. Right?

Or maybe we will just have to wait for another late Friday announcement that is intended to avoid the news cycle.