FBI Say-So Isn’t Enough to Stonewall on Gitmo

     (CN) – Simply asserting that it performed an adequate search is not enough for the FBI to defeat requests for information on two Kuwaitis being detained at Guantanamo Bay, a federal judge ruled.
     “The FBI knows how to produce adequate explanations when it wants to,” the stinging ruling out of Washington by U.S. District Judge John Bates says.
     It means that the bureau must try harder to show the court that it has nothing to provide attorneys for Kuwaiti detainees Fayiz Mohammed Ahmed al-Kandari and Fawzi Khaled Abdullah Fahad al-Odah.
     Al-Kandari has will mark his 13th year of detention in Guantanamo on Friday without being charged with a war crime.
     The Pentagon approved al-Odah’s transfer back to Kuwait on Nov. 5, 2014.
     An organization from the men’s home country, International Counsel Bureau (ICB), sued the FBI two years ago seeking information regarding “any investigations into [their] alleged abuse or mistreatment” in U.S. custody.
     Responding three months later, the FBI said it could not find any responsive documents for al-Kandari. The agency added that there was no justification to release records regarding al-Odah before later backtracking to claim that none existed.
     The agency only checked its Central Records System, without explaining why the search of that one database would suffice.
     Judge Bates said Wednesday that the FBI has “one more chance” to explain why it looked solely on that system – “and what databases, therefore, it has ignored.”
     “This may settle the case,” he predicted.
     A Pentagon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
     When sent an email inquiry, an ICB representative’s automatic reply indicated that its office is closed because the weekend already has arrived in Kuwait.

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