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For two detainees who told what they knew, Guantanamo becomes a gilded cage

Some current and former military officials say there should be other options. The treatment of high-profile informants such as Sawah and Slahi, they argue, will affect the government's ability to turn other jihadists.

"We are much behind in discussing and working out details of some form of witness protection program for the most potentially important and in-danger witnesses," said a military official who has served at Guantanamo.

The former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo, Lawrence Morris, said officials always weighed a detainee's cooperation, particularly its quality and timeliness, before making a charging decision.

"We were not heedless to other factors, but our job was to make our best judgment from a criminal standpoint," said Morris, who noted that the decision to bring a case against Sawah came after prolonged deliberation and consultation with intelligence officials.

Slahi said at a hearing at Guantanamo that he wants to be given sanctuary in the United States.

"When I [told] my American friends here, they said, 'No, no, you were in Cuba, and for God's sake, you are a suspected terrorist and the United States would not accept you,' " he said.

"I will not force you to take me," continued Slahi. "I feel like I deserve [it] because I was honest, cooperative and forthcoming. I may be wrong; obviously I am, so just turn me over to Canada."

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.


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