Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had just finished an interview on Fox News Sunday, and I followed him out the door to get a comment on a rumored disagreement between the Pentagon and the State Department about the detainees in Cuba.
Colin Powell is said to have sent a "strongly worded" letter to Rumsfeld pressing the Defense Department to release some of the detainees. Powell reportedly indicated that U.S. allies in the war on terror have complained that their citizens are being held without a trial or access to a lawyer and want them released.
After appearing on the political talk shows officials are often in a hurry and just don't want to talk, so you risk rejection. But Secretary Rumsfeld did stop to answer a couple of my questions.
He said that Powell and he "are on the same wavelength" on the detainee issue, but it's a "complicated" process to transfer them to the custody of another nation. Before such a transfer, according to Rumsfeld, several U.S. agencies (Justice Dept, CIA, Pentagon) have to sort out legal and intelligence matters and ensure that the U.S. would have access to the transferred detainee in the future...the Pentagon and the State Department are working on the situation, but there's no quick fix.
A couple days later the Pentagon announced that it was transferring about 20 people out of Cuba and bringing in about 40 more detainees, so a net gain of 20 or so in Cuba, for now.