The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, and others published reports Sunday night on secret documents about the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The New York Times says the files, which WikiLeaks originally obtained, were given to the paper by “another source on the condition of anonymity.” The documents include assessments of detainees from February 2002 through January 2009. In the past, news agencies have waited for WikiLeaks to publish the documents on its site before breaking the news—a change the Huffington Post reports resulted from a race to get the scoop out first. The files were also leaked to foreign news media, including the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, both of which published reports.
Some say it’s in the public’s interest to know what went on at Guantanamo, but others think the New York Times and others should have kept the lid on the classified files in the name of national security. The reports are bringing more negative attention to the prison, a sore spot in the Obama administration. [Vote now: Should WikiLeaks be shut down?]
The Pentagon condemned the action. “It is unfortunate that several news organizations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by Wikileaks,” Pentagon officials wrote in a press release, pointing out that the Guantanamo Review Task Force used newer documents in its detainee review. So, the release said, these leaked documents “may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee. Both the previous and the current administrations have made every effort to act with the utmost care and diligence in transferring detainees from Guantanamo.”
Salon’s Glenn Greenwald thinks the leaks show how heavily the public relies on whistle-blowers to learn the truth. “Those condemning these disclosures … are saying, in essence, that it would be far better if we had remained ignorant about the extreme unreliability of the ‘evidence’ justifying these detentions,” he writes. “And that it would be preferable if the evidence showing the extreme injustice of continuing to imprison people there without so much as charging them with any crimes continued to be concealed.”
What do you think? Was it right for the media to publish secret Guantanamo files? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.
--Mallie Jane Kim
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