A Pentagon official Thursday largely refused to answer lawmakers' questions about why members of Congress are prohibited from meeting with Guantanamo detainees, even as intelligence officials from China and elsewhere were allegedly allowed to visit Guantanamo and interrogate prisoners held there.
Allan Liotta, director of the Pentagon's Office of Detainee Policy, testified before a concerned and sometimes fiery House Foreign Affairs subcommittee Thursday, with the difficult task of explaining why the Pentagon allegedly allowed Chinese officials to interrogate several ethnic Chinese Uighur detainees at Guantanamo over a week-long visit in 2002, while it has barred any of the 220 U.S. senators and congressman who have visited the island facility from meeting any of the detainees held there.
answers did not sit well with the lawmakers present. "You allowed intelligence agents of a foreign country to interrogate [Uighur detainees], but you are concerned about their safety and that's why you don't allow United States members of Congress [to visit]?" pressed Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA, in a series of rhetorical questions. "You are concerned about 'public curiosity' -- apparently you're implying we'd be seeing them out of some public curiosity?"
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