Inside Gitmo with Detainee 061

Dandelion Salad

By Mariah Blake
Mother Jones
March 10, 2008

Shortly after German-born Murat Kurnaz arrived at Camp Delta, intelligence reports show the plan was to let him go. What happened?

IT WAS LATE September 2002, and construction crews were just finishing work on the main prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when three German intelligence agents arrived on the island aboard a U.S. military plane.

The reason for their visit was sensitive. The Pentagon was still arguing that those held at Guantanamo were “the worst of the worst” and “the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the Earth,” but behind closed doors CIA officials were coming to the conclusion that a number of detainees had no links to terrorism, and were working on a list of prisoners to be set free.

One of the detainees being considered for release was Murat Kurnaz, a German-born Turkish citizen who had been pulled off a bus in Pakistan the year before and turned over to U.S. forces. Since then, American security agencies hadn’t turned up any evidence that he belonged to a terrorist group or posed a threat to the United States. But before clearing his release, the CIA wanted the Germans to interrogate him and offer their stamp of approval.


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