The Pentagon official in charge of Guantanamo Bay has admitted that if he had his time over, he would have argued that the notorious detention camp should never have been built.
William Lietzau, America’s Deputy Assistant Defence Secretary for Detainee Affairs, told The Mail on Sunday in an exclusive interview that Guantanamo’s detainees should have been legally designated as prisoners of war and held in Afghanistan, or if charged with crimes, taken to prisons in America.
Mr Lietzau – who, after three and a half years in his job, last week announced he will be stepping down to take a private sector job in September – added that the best way for President Obama to close Guantanamo would be to announce that the ‘war’ with Al Qaeda is over.
Under international law, this would end any justification for continuing to hold prisoners who had not been charged with crimes.
Lietzau’s words will be seen as explosive, because alone of senior officials who serve the Obama administration in this field now, he played a key role in creating Guantanamo under George W. Bush.