The Next Wikileaks Bombshell: Gitmo?

By Benjamin Wittes
Friday, December 10, 2010, 6:22 AM

You have to read to the bottom of Charlie Savage's New York Times story on Attorney General Holder's letter to get to this bit:

Meanwhile, officials were bracing for the possibility that WikiLeaks may release yet another cache of leaked United States government documents — this set pertaining to Guantánamo detainees.

After a Reuters article reported that WikiLeaks has the files of every Guantánamo detainee, a government official told The Times that the government believed the claim was correct and that it referred to a set of nearly 800 detainee “threat assessment” files compiled by the Pentagon during the Bush administration.

In 2009, national-security officials re-assessed the 240 remaining detainees, vetting the military’s files against information collected by intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. The newer assessments, however, were not put into the computer system from which the leaked documents are believed to have been downloaded.

When Reuters reported this a few days ago, I hoped it wasn't true. I guess it was--or, at least, that the administration believes it. It will be devastating for the current administration if it happens. But one group of people who should be at least as nervous about this prospect as Obama administration officials is former officials from the Bush administration. After all, they released and transferred more than 530 detainees--some of whose threat assessments will not be pretty documents. Because the major bulk releases, particularly of Saudis, were done under the last administration, not this one, there are undoubtedly a lot of people in there who--were I a threat assessor--would merit a pretty downbeat report. I guarantee one thing: If this material becomes public, releasing people from detention will become as hard as not releasing people from detention. Maybe it already is.