Fox News pushes GOP horror story of Obama setting Gitmo terrorists loose in U.S.

››› ››› NATHAN TABAK & MORGAN WEILAND

Fox News hosts and contributors have repeatedly forwarded the Republican claim that the Obama administration intends to release terrorists held at Guantánamo Bay into the United States. However, the administration has explicitly stated that it does not intend to release terrorists into the U.S.

Since President Obama announced on January 22 that he will close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Fox News hosts and contributors have repeated or uncritically aired Republicans' claim that the administration intends to release terrorists held there into the United States. This uncritical reporting takes on added significance because, as Media Matters for America has documented, several media figures -- including some at Fox News -- have recently described Republicans' attempts to stoke fears about relocated Guantánamo detainees endangering Americans as possibly being a "winning issue" for the GOP.

In several instances, Fox News hosts or contributors either explicitly or implicitly referred to a group of ethnic Uighur detainees, at least some of whom the administration is considering releasing into the United States, as Defense Secretary Roberts Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee during an April 30 hearing. In response to questioning by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Gates said: "What I have heard people talking about is our taking some of the Uighurs, probably not all, because it's difficult for the State Department to make the argument to other countries they should take these people that we have deemed in this case not to be dangerous if we won't take any of them ourselves."

However, the policy the administration is considering with regard to this group does not indicate that the administration intends to release "terrorists" into the United States. As a May 1 Los Angeles Times article noted, "The Uighurs, part of a movement that seeks independence from China, had received weapons training at a camp in Afghanistan, but are not considered a threat to the U.S.," and the Bush administration reclassified this group of detainees as "no longer enemy combatants." At the April 30 Senate hearing where Gates made his comments about plans to release the Uighurs, Gates referred to them as "people that we have deemed in this case not to be dangerous."

Moreover, the administration has consistently maintained that terrorists will not be released into the United States. At a January 27 hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Gates responded to a comment by Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) about the administration's detainee policy by saying, "I can't imagine a situation in which detainees at Guantanamo who were considered a danger to the people of the United States would simply be released here."

Similarly, during a May 7 hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) asked Attorney General Eric Holder: "Do you have the authority under the law to do this, to bring terrorists into this country and bring them into the community?" Holder responded, "[W]ith regard to those who you would describe as terrorists, we would not bring them into this country and release them, anybody who we consider to be a terrorist, as I think you're using the word."

Nevertheless, Fox News hosts and contributors have repeatedly advanced the baseless Republican charge that the administration intends to release terrorists held at Guantánamo Bay into the United States, including:

  • On the May 10 edition of Fox News Sunday, during a discussion with Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich, host Chris Wallace allowed Gingrich to suggest that releasing the Uighur detainees would set a "precedent" for how the United States handles the transfer of all detainees:

WALLACE: Meanwhile, the Obama administration says that it will close Guantanamo by next January and that some detainees who are judged not to be security risks will be released in this country.

Question: If you're going to try to get other countries to accept these detainees, don't we have to do our share?

GINGRICH: This is nuts. I mean, this is just crazy. These are -- these are not American nationals. We have no obligation to keep them here. They ought to go home. Now, are their home countries saying, "I won't take my own citizen?"

The idea we're going to put alleged terrorists on welfare and have you pay for them and me pay for them, so they get to be integrated into American society -- remember, all these people were brought in on the grounds that they were trained in terrorist camps.

So we're now going to take a guy who we don't have conclusive proof and we're going to put him in American society paid by the American taxpayer because his home country won't accept him? Why is his home country not accepting him?

WALLACE: Well, let me get -- let's take one example, the Chinese Uighurs, Chinese Muslims --

GINGRICH: Right.

WALLACE: -- who were arrested in Afghanistan, brought to this country. The Pentagon says they're not enemy combatants. At least one federal judge has said they're not a threat. But if they go back to China, they're going to be prosecuted.

GINGRICH: Why is that our problem? I mean, why -- what -- if the -- if the -- what -- what is it -- why are we protecting these guys? Why does it become an American problem?

WALLACE: So what, send them to China and --

GINGRICH: Send them to China. If a third country wants to receive them, send them to a third country. But setting this precedent that if you get picked up by Americans -- I mean, the Somalian who was recently brought here who's a pirate -- I mean, if you get picked up by the Americans, you show up in the United States, a lawyer files an amicus brief on your behalf for free, a year later you have citizenship because, after all, how can we not give you citizenship since you're now here, and in between our taxpayers pay for you -- this is, I think -- verges on insanity.

Later, Wallace asked Fox News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol: "You saw this week some Democrats as well as some Republicans pushing back and saying -- you know, the famous NIMBY, not in my backyard -- not only not in my backyard to release them on the street, not in my backyard to put them in a prison. What's the fallout?"

  • On the May 10 edition of America's News HQ, reporter Shannon Bream claimed that "we're also, of course, focused this week on Guantánamo Bay, where the detainees are going to go that are going to be released. There are financial concerns there as well because there's talk of spending money to resettle them here in the U.S." She then failed to challenge an assertion by Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) that "[t]here is no reason in the world, in my opinion, we should be closing down Guantánamo and sending those people to the United States, many of whom would be released in this country, and the taxpayers of this country would be taking care of them. This is insane, in my opinion." At no point during the interview did Bream mention that the administration has explicitly stated that it will not release detainees who are considered to pose a threat to the United States into the country. As Gates said: "I can't imagine a situation in which detainees at Guantanamo who were considered a danger to the people of the United States would simply be released here."
  • On the May 7 edition of Happening Now, host Jane Skinner introduced a report by asking: "Some lawmakers are concerned that if the Guantánamo Bay detainees are released and released into the United States, could they actually end up qualifying for benefits in this country, like welfare?" Skinner then noted that "the GOP is launching something called the Keep Terrorists out of America Act." Though the report that followed, by reporter Molly Henneberg, concluded with a clip of Holder stating that terrorists would not be released in the United States, on-screen graphics accompanying the report stated "GOP Lawmakers Want To Keep Gitmo Detainees Out Of U.S." and "GOP Trying To Make Sure Gitmo Detainees Don't Get Welfare."

  • On the May 6 edition of On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren introduced an interview with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) by stating: "Do you want detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison released into the United States? Attorney General Eric Holder says it is a possibility, but Republican Senator Jeff Sessions questions whether our government has the legal authority to do that." Van Susteren later asked Sessions about a letter he had written to Holder: "And in the letter, you tell him that you're concerned about a number of things, including you quote him as saying that detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may end up being released in the United States. Has he confirmed or denied that that's the intention?" When they later discussed the Uighurs, Sessions suggested they were "some of the toughest, most dangerous" detainees, and Van Susteren did not mention that the government does not consider them a threat to the United States. Similarly, a graphic featured during the segment misleadingly asserted that "suspected terrorists" could be "released on American soil":

  • On the May 1 edition of On the Record, Gingrich stated of the Uighur case, "[T]here's a report out that the administration's actually going to release people who've had terrorist training into the United States and then charge the American taxpayer to take care of these people so that they could have a transition into becoming American." Van Susteren subsequently asked Gingrich: "So what can we do? I mean, in light of the fact that the president's made a decision that Gitmo is going to be shut down, I mean, what are our options?" After Gingrich mentioned that other countries would not take the Uighurs, Van Susteren called that "sort of interesting because I think there was one clip a short time ago when I think it was said that they aren't dangerous, that the ones we were going to send are safe, and they said, If they're safe, you keep them." At the end of the segment, Gingrich generalized the issue: "I think we're suddenly learning the difference between campaigning, when you can have a great speech and great rhetoric and a great quip, and the reality of governing, where suddenly, it turns out most of the people at Guantanamo are really bad people."
  • On the April 1 edition of his program, Glenn Beck introduced a segment regarding the Uighur detainees at Guantánamo by saying: "We're going to talk about the Gitmo prisoners that might be moving into your backyard, allegedly trained by terrorists in Afghanistan." Beck subsequently said of the detainees: "These are Chinese terrorists that we picked up over in Pakistan, right? Brought them over and they were in Gitmo. In 2004, they were cleared. They were not - what do you call them? Enemy combatants. And they were free to go, but nobody wants them. And we don't really think that people who are training in al-Qaeda training camps maybe should be released in, oh, let's say, America."
  • On the March 18 edition of Special Report, host Bret Baier claimed of comments reportedly made that day by Holder: "The attorney-general says it is possible that some terror suspects now at Guantanamo Bay could be released on to the streets of American cities." During homeland security correspondent Catherine Herridge's subsequent report, she stated, "In a briefing with reporters at the Justice Department a short time ago, the Attorney General Eric Holder left open the possibility that some of the detainees from Guantanamo could be released inside the United States." Later, she said, "Clearly, the administration wants to try as many detainees as practical in the U.S. criminal courts. Others, Holder said could be released inside the United States. 'There are a variety of options that we have,' Holder told reporters, 'and among them is the possibility that we would release them into this country.' " Neither Herridge nor Baier mentioned that the administration has said it would not release anyone into the United States who it considers a threat. Indeed, The New York Times reported that at the briefing, Holder "said it was possible that some detainees like the Uighurs held in Cuba could be released into the United States."

From the May 10 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday (this and all following transcripts are from the Nexis database unless otherwise noted):

WALLACE: Meanwhile, the Obama administration says that it will close Guantanamo by next January and that some detainees who are judged not to be security risks will be released in this country.

Question: If you're going to try to get other countries to accept these detainees, don't we have to do our share?

GINGRICH: This is nuts. I mean, this is just crazy. These are -- these are not American nationals. We have no obligation to keep them here. They ought to go home. Now, are their home countries saying, "I won't take my own citizen?"

The idea we're going to put alleged terrorists on welfare and have you pay for them and me pay for them, so they get to be integrated into American society -- remember, all these people were brought in on the grounds that they were trained in terrorist camps.

So we're now going to take a guy who we don't have conclusive proof and we're going to put him in American society paid by the American taxpayer because his home country won't accept him? Why is his home country not accepting him?

WALLACE: Well, let me get -- let's take one example, the Chinese Uighurs, Chinese Muslims --

GINGRICH: Right.

WALLACE: -- who were arrested in Afghanistan, brought to this country. The Pentagon says they're not enemy combatants. At least one federal judge has said they're not a threat. But if they go back to China, they're going to be prosecuted.

GINGRICH: Why is that our problem? I mean, why -- what -- if the -- if the -- what -- what is it -- why are we protecting these guys? Why does it become an American problem?

WALLACE: So what, send them to China and --

GINGRICH: Send them to China. If a third country wants to receive them, send them to a third country. But setting this precedent that if you get picked up by Americans -- I mean, the Somalian who was recently brought here who's a pirate -- I mean, if you get picked up by the Americans, you show up in the United States, a lawyer files an amicus brief on your behalf for free, a year later you have citizenship because, after all, how can we not give you citizenship since you're now here, and in between our taxpayers pay for you -- this is, I think -- verges on insanity.

[...]

WALLACE: Let me turn to a related subject, Bill, the closing of Guantanamo Bay. You saw this week some Democrats as well as some Republicans pushing back and saying -- you know, the famous NIMBY, not in my backyard -- not only not in my backyard to release them on the street, not in my backyard to put them in a prison. What's the fallout?

From the May 10 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ (from Media Matters video):

BREAM: And we're also, of course, focused this week on Guantánamo Bay, where the detainees are going to go that are going to be released. There are financial concerns there as well because there's talk of spending money to resettle them here in the U.S., possibly paying other countries to take them, a third party. What do you make of that situation?

BURTON: Well, first of all, only one country has agreed to take any of them, and that was France, and they've only agreed to take one. There is no reason in the world, in my opinion, we should be closing down Guantánamo and sending those people to the United States, many of whom would be released in this country, and the taxpayers of this country would be taking care of them. This is insane, in my opinion. These people, many of them are terrorists -- we've had some of them that were released and went back to their home countries and became terrorists again. So I think it's extremely important that we think about this one more time. I don't agree with President Obama on this. The security of the United States abroad and at home is very important, and we should not be releasing those terrorists into the United States or bringing them to the prisons in this country. You could have a terrorist attack at some point where we have some of these leaders that are terrorists, and it could cause a real problem in the communities surrounding those prisons here in the United States, so I think it's a bad policy to bring them here.

BREAM: Congressman Dan Burton, we thank you so much for your time today, sir.

BURTON: Thank you, Shannon.

From the May 7 edition of Fox News' Happening Now (from Media Matters video):

SKINNER: Some lawmakers are concerned that if the Guantánamo Bay detainees are released and released into the United States, could they actually end up qualifying for benefits in this country, like welfare? Well, the GOP is launching something called the Keep Terrorists out of America Act. Molly Henneberg is in D.C. for us. Molly, explain exactly what this is. It's all part of this complication over closing Gitmo.

HENNEBERG: Certainly is, Jane. Well, for one thing, it would require the Obama administration get approval from a state's governor and a state's legislature before transferring a detainee to that state for prosecution or release. Take a listen.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH) [video clip]: Our constituents don't want these terrorists in their neighborhoods.

HENNEBERG: These lawmakers say this bill sets up a process so that constituents know if, when a Gitmo detainees is brought into their state or community, Jane.

SKINNER: So Republicans would like to block any funding that would be used basically to have these people on our soil?

HENNEBERG: Right. This began when House Democrats on Monday left out of an emergency war funding bill the $50 million President Obama wants to transfer detainees out of Gitmo. Since then, Republicans have added their voices on the matter. Georgia Senator -- Republican senator Saxby Chambliss, for one, is introducing a bill to block funding for the purpose of bringing any detainee here and releasing them on U.S. soil. Some of the things that are going on the Hill.

SKINNER: Yeah, and things got a little heated, I understand, in the Senate over potentially brining detainees here.

HENNEBERG: Yes, and it's likely, Jane, related to reports that the Obama administration plans to release more than a dozen Chinese Muslim Uighurs from Gitmo on U.S. soil. These men received training at a terror camp, but after seven years at Gitmo, they have been approved for release. And one GOP senator suggests the Obama administration can't legally do that. Listen to this.

[begin video clip]

SHELBY: Do you have the authority under the law to do this, to bring terrorists into this country and bring them into the community?

HOLDER: What I'm saying is that with regard to those who you would describe as terrorists, we would not bring them into the country and release them.

[end video clip]

HENNEBERG: Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikluski also pressed the attorney general there, Eric Holder, that there would be, quote, "no imminent release of prisoners on U.S. shores."

SKINNER: Molly Henneberg's in D.C. for us. Thanks, Mol.

From the May 6 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you want detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison released into the United States? Attorney General Eric Holder says it is a possibility, but Republican Senator Jeff Sessions questions whether our government has the legal authority to do that. Senator Sessions has written two letters to the attorney general about this subject. Has he had a response? Let's ask. Senator Jeff Sessions is here live.

Nice to see you, Senator.

SESSIONS: Good to be with you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Have you gotten a response from the attorney general?

SESSIONS: No response.

VAN SUSTEREN: None at all?

SESSIONS: No, we haven't.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, I have a copy here dated April 2nd. Is that the second of the two letters or the first?

SESSIONS: No, I believe that's the first.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's the first. And in the letter, you tell him that you're concerned about a number of things, including you quote him as saying that detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may end up being released in the United States. Has he confirmed or denied that that's the intention?

SESSIONS: He has not, but they made public statements indicating that they're dealing with that issue. And the secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary [Janet] Napolitano, today at the hearing admitted that she was part of a committee that was talking about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where are they going to release them in the United States? What's their plan?

SESSIONS: Well, we don't know for sure, but northern Virginia has been mentioned as one of the places.

VAN SUSTEREN: And no other place?

SESSIONS: That's the only place I've heard.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why is there not more transparency to this issue? Because the president signed an order on January 22nd saying it's going to close within one year, we're almost halfway into that, and we're running out of time.

SESSIONS: They don't know what to do with these prisoners. It's a difficult question for them. They've gotten themselves into a box, and they've got to figure their way out. But I'll tell you, under the law that we passed several years ago, a person that's been trained by a terrorist organization cannot immigrate to the United States. And so now we're taking people out of Guantanamo, bringing them and releasing them in the United States. [Director of National Intelligence] Admiral [Dennis] Blair said we've got to give them subsistence of some kind. And so this is a very direct violation of the law of the United States Congress. I do not see how they can get around this.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Do you agree we can't hold them forever?

SESSIONS: Well, as long as they represent a threat to the United States and we are in the state of war, I think they can be held.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do we know every single one there, though? I mean, when we collected them and there are over 200 there now and they've never had any sort of process, I mean, how can we be certain if, you know, if 100 percent of them have bad intentions?

SESSIONS: Well, we don't know. We do know -- one article recently said that when a soccer game was played for them, one of the people saw a woman with short sleeves dress on, a top, and threw the TV on the ground. So these are people that are not totally accepting of Western culture, that's for sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, here's the problem. We've got over 250 sitting there, right? Some percentage of them are horrible, bad people that we never want to have them come near the United States or any U.S. interests in the world, right?

SESSIONS: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Okay. We don't know who they are, we don't know which ones of the 250.

SESSIONS: Well, we have pretty good proof on the ones that are left. We had over 700, I think, at one time. It's now down to 250. These are some of the toughest, most dangerous ones, people that other countries won't take. And of course, I think China has indicated they are willing to take these people. They consider them to be threats to China, but we're apparently unwilling to give them up to China.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, you're talking about 17 who are Chinese, and we won't send them back to China because we think that the Chinese government will punish them or maybe execute them. I don't know what. So we won't send that 17 back to China. We can't send them off to Western Europe because Western Europe doesn't want them. In fact, I remember one German person said, when we said they were safe, he said, if they're so safe, you keep 'em. And so now we can't put them in the United States because people don't want them in the United States. And not only that, the law prohibits them from coming in the United States, right?

SESSIONS: That's the way I see it.

VAN SUSTEREN: And the place has got to close down in about seven months.

SESSIONS: That's correct. Now, I've been to Guantanamo --

VAN SUSTEREN: And you don't get the answers to your letters.

SESSIONS: And I don't get answers.

VAN SUSTEREN: Wow. (Laughs.)

SESSIONS: I think he should answer that question. It's an important issue. I can't believe they're having this much difficulty with it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you ever call up and say, how about just answering? I'm a United States senator, I've sent you twice --

SESSIONS: I should do that. I like Eric Holder, and he's been in the Department of Justice before for quite a number of years. He knows the ropes. I should probably do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, give him a call and come on back. Let's see if he wants to explain this because I want to know. And they're in a bit of a fix. They've got themselves in a fix. Senator, thank you very much.

SESSIONS: Thank you.

From the May 1 edition of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Gitmo. There's news about Gitmo.

GINGRICH: Well, there's a report out that the administration's actually going to release people who've had terrorist training into the United States and then charge the American taxpayer to take care of these people so that they could have a transition into becoming American.

I, I think this is bizarre. If you have people who we decide to release, they ought to go back to their home country. Now, the problem with that is these particular folks I believe are from western China, and the Chinese will immediately arrest them because the Chinese think they're terrorists. And -- but the proposal that you and I and all the taxpayers of America should be paying to maintain folks we arrested as a terrorist to be out in the civilian population I think is, frankly, weird.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what can we do? I mean, in light of the fact that the president's made a decision that Gitmo is going to be shut down, I mean, what are our options?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, we'll begin to learn, as everybody around the world says to the United States, Why would I take these people from you? They're dangerous. I mean, you know, the Germans and others have said, we don't want these people.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is sort of interesting because I think there was one clip a short time ago when I think it was said that they aren't dangerous, that the ones we were going to send are safe, and they said, If they're safe, you keep them.

GINGRICH: Right. And I -- I just think -- I think we're suddenly learning the difference between campaigning, when you can have a great speech and great rhetoric and a great quip, and the reality of governing, where suddenly, it turns out most of the people at Guantanamo are really bad people.

From the April 1 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Now, we're going to China - kind of. We're going to talk about the Gitmo prisoners that might be moving into your backyard, allegedly trained by terrorists in Afghanistan. So where are they going to go when they are let out into the streets? And shouldn't we have let them out a long time ago? Wait until you hear this story, next.

[...]

BECK: All right. The Obama administration is soon going to decide the fate of 17 Uighur Muslim detainees held at Gitmo. Are they terrorists or are they refugees? The Uighurs have been cleared for release since 2004. You can't send them back to China because of human rights concerns. They will be killed. And we don't want them because they're connected to terrorists. So what to do? What to do?

Here is former CIA covert operations officer Mike Baker. You were like - were you a spy?

BAKER: That's what they say, but I don't talk about it.

BECK: You don't talk about it.

BAKER: I don't know - although I am on your show.

[crosstalk]

BECK: It is kind of a bad thing for somebody who is in a foreign country going, "That guy!" OK. So Mike, the Uighurs - first of all, explain who they are.

BAKER: Uighurs -- they reside in China in a place that they refer to as East Turkestan. And they are legitimately oppressed by the Chinese authorities so they have been waging a campaign for some time for autonomy.

In a sense, Uighurs are to the Chinese authorities what the Chechnyans are to the Russian authorities. I almost said Soviet authorities.

BECK: OK. Yes.

[...]

BECK: OK. Now, wait, wait, wait. In 2004, under the Bush administration, they were tried in a tribunal or --

BAKER: Well, they were cleared for release. What happened was essentially the background on these characters is so fuzzy that eventually, it was said, "OK, look, eventually we can't call them enemy combatants."

And so the Bush administration even dropped that effort to call them enemy combatants. Five of them were released to Albania. The Albanian authorities agreed to take five of them.

The problem is the remaining 17 who are there -- it is not as if they have been languishing there and we threw away the key and forgot about them.

BECK: All right.

BAKER: There's been an effort to get rid of them.

BECK: OK. Hang on. I want to take this to the next step, because now, we don't know what to do with these people and they may be even living next door to you. Great? Next.

[...]

BECK: All right. We're talking with Mike Baker. He's a former CIA covert operations officer. We were talking about these Uighurs. These are Chinese terrorists that we picked up over in Pakistan, right? Brought them over and they were in Gitmo.

In 2004, they were cleared. They were not - what do you call them? Enemy combatants. And they were free to go, but nobody wants them. And we don't really think that people who are training in al-Qaeda training camps maybe should be released in, oh, let's say, America.

So they have been sitting in jail now in Guantanamo. And I find myself -- the more I look into this, I find myself more and more pissed off at both sides. I'm really upset at the Bush administration. You can't keep people in jail if they've been cleared, but what are you going to do with them?

BAKER: Well, being pissed off on both sides is actually a very sane response, I think, in this case. But to be fair, the Bush administration has been trying or did try to get rid of them. Over 100 countries put their hands up and said, "We don't want them. Sorry."

We can't give them to the Chinese. And everybody, including the Obama administration, is realizing how difficult this case is.

BECK: What happens to these people?

BAKER: Well, they've got to keep on doing what they're doing. They've got to find a country willing to take them.

From the March 18 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

BAIER: The attorney-general says it is possible that some terror suspects now at Guantanamo Bay could be released on to the streets of American cities. National correspondent Catherine Herridge has this story -- hi, Catherine.

HERRIDGE: Thanks Bret.

In a briefing with reporters at the Justice Department a short time ago, the Attorney General Eric Holder left open the possibility that some of the detainees from Guantanamo could be released inside the United States.

With the Obama administration just two months into its sweeping review of Guantanamo, the key question for Attorney General Holder is where the 250 detainees will go. Each detainee has a file at the military prison and each file is being reviewed on an individual basis.

Clearly, the administration wants to try as many detainees as practical in the U.S. criminal courts. Others, Holder said could be released inside the United States. "There are a variety of options that we have," Holder told reporters, "and among them is the possibility that we would release them into this country."

The Obama administration is clearly hoping the Europeans will help on the detainee question. This issue was raised on Tuesday by Secretary of State Clinton with her counterpart, Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin.

A source who has advised the Obama administration on the issue tells Fox that releasing some of the detainees into the U.S. may ultimately be necessary so that European leaders can make the case to their own people that they supported closing the military prisons so now they must do their part and take some of the detainees as well. A justice department official agreed with that assessment late this afternoon -- Bret.

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