THE BLOG
01/17/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

More Lies from Vice President Cheney

The scope of absurd statements and flat out debunked assertions in Vice President Cheney's ABC interview was pretty shocking.  Spencer Ackerman debunks Cheney's statement's about the intelligence that was derived from waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  And Think Progress takes care of the false assertion that somehow Saddam had the capability  to produce WMDs.  I'll take on this particular claim from the Cheney interview, which was disavowed long ago by DOD.

Well, if you release people that shouldn't have been released -- and that's happened in some cases already -- you end up with them back on the battlefield.

And we've had, as I recall now -- and these are rough numbers, I'd want to check them -- but, say, approximately 30 of these folks have been held in Guantanamo, then released, and ended up back on the battlefield again, and we've encountered them a second time around. But they've either been killed or captured in further conflicts with our forces.

This is basically a flat out lie.  It  was debunked a year ago by a Seton Hall Law School Report (PDF) and then in a follow up report in June (PDF).  Even DOD doesn't stand by this number anymore and acknowledged in a hearing last year that the number is 12 at most.

Cheney's 30, included eight detainees who participated in "anti coalition activities" by speaking out against U.S. policies.  Five are Chinese Uighurs who were sent to Albania and whose return to the battlefield consisted of submitting an op-ed criticizing U.S. policy.  Another three were interviewed for a film and criticized the Bush administration.  A number of the thirty were never even verified or listed.  And in a May 20, 2008 hearing, the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight of the House Foreign Affairs Committee DOD submitted only 12 instead of 30 detainees who had "returned to the battlefield."  Of those 12, five were arrested in Russia, Turkey and Morocco.  It's unclear if they ever plotted to attack Americans again or what exactly they were arrested for.  Five others were killed in Afghanistan, Russia and Iraq.  So basically Cheney's 30 is at most 12 and more likely somewhere between 5-10. 

It would seem relatively shocking for the Vice President of the United States to continue to cite numbers that were debunked a year ago and are completely false.  But then again, this is the man who for years was continuing to insist that Mohammad Atta met with Iraqi agents long after this claim had been debunked.