CNN’s Christiane Amanpour talked with McClatchy’s Tom Lasseter about a investigation that found the U.S. imprisoned the wrong people in an effort to detain al Qaeda terrorists. The first report in the series will be released on Sunday.
AMANPOUR: The United States government says it’s the worst of the worst who are in detention. What did you find?
LASSETER: We found that in a myriad of cases the United States picked up the wrong guys. They picked up the wrong guys at times because they had given financial incentives to local warlords, essentially bounty hunters, to present people as militants. They got the wrong guys because often times there were tribal rivalries in Afghanistan, a country that’s had decades of invasion and war where a great many people have old scores to settle.
AMANPOUR: Just to get it straight, of the 66 odd people that you interviewed, how many would you say were the wrong guys?
LASSETER: Well, we found that about half of those 66 were low-level essentially Taliban grunts, if you will, or very young volunteers who is had come over from Pakistan who by virtue of who they were really wouldn’t have had much to offer in terms of high-grade intelligence on international terrorism.
This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast June 13, 2008.