We’ve talked repeatedly about just how arbitrary the feds can be when it comes to redacting documents that they release. Despite the fact that they’re supposed to err on the side of transparency, they often go in the other direction. However, it can reach absolutely ridiculous levels, such as when they release the same document twice… with different redactions, revealing what they redacted. Even worse, they claim that the redactions were necessary to avoid having Al Qaeda be able to break prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay prison. The document was released both times as part of a case concerning detainees’ access to lawyers and (more specifically) the fact that the prison was conducting “genital searches” on prisoners if they wanted to meet with their lawyers.
Part of the case revolves around a declaration from June 3rd from Guantanamo prison warden Colonel John Bogdan explaining why the genital searches are necessary. However, the US government says that if that declaration is fully made public it “would better enable our enemies to attack the detention facilities at Guantanamo or undermine security at the facility.” Got that? The reason Bogdan’s declaration must be redacted is that not redacting key parts would allow Al Qaeda to attack the prison.
Given that, the US government released a redacted version to a reporter… apparently forgetting (or unaware) that they had already released a different redacted version a month ago in a related proceeding on the same case. Jason Leopold at Al Jazeera explores some of the differences:
Indeed, in the public version of Bogdan’s declaration submitted to the appeals court last month, the following passage is unredacted:
If the detainee would need to use the restroom in Camp 6, the meeting must end and the detainee would need to be moved by guard staff back to his cell.
The same passage, however, appears this way in the version of Bogdan’s declaration released on Friday:
If the detainees would need to use the restroom in Camp 6[redacted].