In a February 7 article, The New York Times reported that Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell "put the number at 61" of former Guantánamo detainees who have "returned to the fight." But the article did not note that Morrell has previously stated that there are only 18 detainees confirmed to have "returned to the fight," with another 43 suspected of having done so. Nor did the Times indicate whether Morrell has stated that DOD has subsequently confirmed that more than 18 detainees have "returned to the fight."
A Washington Post article about Leon Panetta's Senate confirmation hearing as CIA director reported that "Panetta said he would oppose 'extraordinary rendition' " and that Sen. Kit Bond "noted that the Clinton administration had ordered dozens of renditions." However, the article did not note Panetta's response to Bond, in which Panetta differentiated between "extraordinary renditions" under the Bush administration "where we took a prisoner and sent him to another country for questioning ... that did not meet our test for human values" and renditions in which individuals were returned "to countries of jurisdiction" or "rendered back to this country for purposes of trial."
The Politico falsely reported: "The Pentagon said earlier this month that 61 former Guantanamo inmates, out of the more than 700 who had been held at the facility, have been found to have returned to terrorism." In fact, the Pentagon has acknowledged that its figure of 61 detainees includes 43 former prisoners who are only suspected of, but have not been confirmed as having "returned to terrorism." Moreover, even the Pentagon's claim that it has confirmed that 18 former Guantánamo detainees have "return[ed] to the fight" has been questioned by experts.
In recent days, several media figures, including MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski and CNN's Tom Foreman and Campbell Brown, have either uncritically reported or echoed Dick Cheney's assertion that the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies have kept the United States safe. These media figures did not note that a 2008 GAO report found that the U.S. "has not met its national security goals to destroy terrorist threats and close the safe haven" in Pakistan, or that many CIA analysts reportedly believe Al Qaeda leaders have declined to attack the U.S. again for strategic reasons, not due to the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies.
On CNN's State of the Union, John King cited a Los Angeles Times article that, according to King, stated that President Obama "has signed executive orders to continue the controversial CIA practice of rendition -- essentially scooping up suspected terrorists around the world, sometimes taking them to secret prisons." But King left out key facts from the Times article, including that the "secret prisons" to which he referred could be used "only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis," and that in his executive order, Obama created a task force to ensure that renditions "do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture."
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The Wall Street Journal printed an op-ed that falsely claimed that the Army Field Manual "prohibits ... good-cop bad-cop routines" when interrogating detainees. The op-ed was criticizing President Barack Obama's executive order stating that a detainee in U.S. custody cannot be subjected to interrogation techniques not listed in the manual. In fact, the Army Field Manual explicitly permits good cop-bad cop interrogations under the name of "Mutt and Jeff" interrogations, which involve two interrogators "display[ing] opposing personalities and attitudes toward the source."
Discussing President Obama's executive order stating that a detainee in U.S. custody cannot be subjected to interrogation techniques not listed in the Army Field Manual, Karl Rove falsely asserted that "[t]he Army Field Manual ... prohibits you from using good cop-bad cop in interrogating." In fact, the Army Field Manual explicitly permits good cop-bad cop interrogations under the name of "Mutt and Jeff" interrogations, which involve two interrogators "display[ing] opposing personalities and attitudes toward the source."
While interviewing Rudy Giuliani, Sean Hannity repeated the false claim that "[s]ixty-one" Guantánamo detainees who have been released are "back on the battlefield" to support his assertion that President Barack Obama is "an ideologue." Hannity and Giuliani also repeated the claims that fiscal stimulus packages were ineffective during the Great Depression and during Japan's "lost decade," but both those claims have been challenged by economists.
On Meet the Press, host David Gregory allowed Rep. John Boehner to repeat the falsehood that, in Boehner's words, "we've already found" that 61 detainees released from the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay are now "back on the battlefield." In fact, the figure, which comes from the Pentagon, includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but have not been confirmed as, having engaged in terrorist activity. Moreover, even the Pentagon's claim that it has confirmed that 18 former Guantánamo detainees have returned to the battlefield has been questioned by experts.
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A Washington Times editorial asserted that "[j]ust as a few MPs at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq acted disgracefully ... there may be legal wrongs and/or morally questionable acts that interrogation personnel conducted at Gitmo or other sites." But in suggesting that responsibility for detainee abuse at those detention facilities was limited to "a few MPs" at Abu Ghraib and "interrogation personnel" at Guantánamo, the Times ignored the conclusions of a Senate Armed Services Committee report that found: "The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees."
Reporting on Defense Secretary Robert Gates' role in "reviewing the current conditions" at Guantánamo "to make sure they're legal and follow the Geneva Convention," the Politico asserted that it "seems doubtful" Gates "will suddenly find conditions that were just fine on Monday of this week are now flagrant violations of the Geneva Convention," suggesting that Gates disagrees with President Barack Obama's order to close Guantánamo. In fact, Gates has repeatedly stated -- both publicly and reportedly to senior Bush administration officials -- that the facilities should be closed.
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