Guantanamo Bay detainees providing intelligence: NYT
NEW YORK: Prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre have provided interrogators with intelligence over the last two years, including details about Al Qaeda’s chemical and biological weapons efforts and its use of charities as false fund-raising fronts, The New York Times reported in its Sunday edition.
Citing interviews with military and intelligence officials conducted during an arranged tour, the newspaper reported that detainees had also provided information about how Al Qaeda trains suicide bombers. “We have been able as a result of information gained here to take operational actions, even military campaigns,” the Times quoted Steve Rodriguez, a veteran intelligence officer who oversees the interrogation teams, as saying. “There are instances of learning about active cells, and we have taken action to see that the cell was broken,” he said.
According to the Times, another US official said that analysts had been able to gain an understanding of a European underground network in which young Muslims are recruited for Al Qaeda by imams and Islamic cultural centres, and sent to Afghanistan. The Times said that officials had offered to talk in detail about the intelligence and interrogation techniques partly in response to criticism about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and a lack of access. The officials also denied allegations of mistreatment made by prisoners recently returned to Britain whose accounts appeared in British newspapers and from Afghans who spoke to The New York Times in Kabul, the Times said.
Mr Rodriguez also said a large number of the 610 detainees had not been cooperative with their interrogators and that at least 50 of them were “ardent jihadists and have no qualms about telling you that if they got out they would go and kill more Americans”, the Times reported.
The newspaper said detainees are questioned by teams of about three military intelligence people and may be summoned at any time of day or night for as many as two daily sessions of up to five hours. One senior intelligence officer described using hamburgers from the base’s McDonald’s and games of chess to gain an intimacy with a detainee he said was Al Qaeda’s chief explosives instructor. —Reuters