In this January 2004 press briefing DoD spokesmen had this to say about the detention of captives in Iraq:In this January 2004 press briefing DoD spokesmen had this to say about the detention of captives in Iraq:
And I would just add that the policy has been that we try to make a determination about whether or not the classification of the detainees is a security detainee or a civilian detainee within approximately 72 hours, which is far faster than it is required under international law. We try to make the decision within 72 hours, after which the detainee is either retained as a security detainee; if they're classified as a civilian detainee they are sent into the court system or they are released altogether.
However the Fay Report described what was required for detainees to be released. A committee of senior officers had to meet, to approve every release. General Janis Karpinski sat on the committee, as did General Barbara Fast, the most senior military intelligence officer, and Sanchez's most senior legal advisor. Well there was bad blood between them. So, they hardly ever met. Consequently detainees that junior people had cleared remained in detention for months because the senior officers on this committee couldn't get along.
This was going on at exactly the same time the DoD spokesmen claimed a 72 hour turnaround.