CNN, AP falsely claim that Pentagon says 61 Guantánamo detainees have returned to terrorism

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

The Associated Press falsely stated, "The Pentagon recently reported that 61 former prisoners at Guantanamo have returned to the fight against the U.S. and its allies." Similarly, on CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips asserted, "New Pentagon figures actually say 61 released detainees have been linked to some kind of terror activity." In fact, the Pentagon's figure includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but not confirmed as, having, in the AP's words, "returned to the fight."

In a January 22 article, the Associated Press falsely stated, "The Pentagon recently reported that 61 former prisoners at Guantanamo have returned to the fight against the U.S. and its allies." Similarly, during the 1 p.m. ET hour of the January 22 edition of CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips asserted, "New Pentagon figures actually say 61 released detainees have been linked to some kind of terror activity." Both the AP and Phillips were discussing President Obama's executive order requiring that the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay be closed within a year. But the Pentagon has not confirmed that 61 former Guantánamo detainees have, in the AP's words, "returned to the fight"; that figure includes 43 former prisoners who are "suspected" of doing so.

Indeed, during a January 13 press conference, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell asserted: "The new numbers are, we believe, 18 confirmed and 43 suspected of returning to the fight. So 61 in all former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight."

Additionally, as Daily Kos contributing editor Joan McCarter noted, Seton Hall University School of Law professor Mark Denebeaux has disputed the Pentagon's figures, asserting: "Once again, they've failed to identify names, numbers, dates, times, places, or acts upon which their report relies. Every time they have been required to identify the parties, the DOD has been forced to retract their false IDs and their numbers."

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.