Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Back on Offense

At least 30 former detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility have gone back into action against coalition forces one way or another since being released. Pentagon spokesman Commander Jeffrey Gordon says that while in custody the detainees had falsely claimed to be ordinary civilians or low-level combatants.

Gordon says that while the U.S. does not actively track detainees after their release, the Pentagon became aware of their return to combat through intelligence sources and media reports. Gordon says some of the former detainees have been killed on the battlefield. Others have participated in propaganda efforts such as making films, writing books and public speaking.

Hunting Season

A British intelligence report says British agents were ready to give the U.S. information about the whereabouts of Usama bin Laden back in 1998 — but wanted assurances that bin Laden would not be tortured.

The Guardian newspaper writes that the report states MI6 believed it was close to finding bin Laden in Afghanistan in '98, and again the next year.

Officials signed off on sharing the information with the U.S. — on the no-torture condition. But the CIA reportedly refused to give that assurance. CIA spokesman George Little tells FOX News — "There's really no need to comment on such reports because the United States does not conduct or condone torture."

Needle Work

The city of San Francisco spent $800,000 last year to hand out some two million syringes to drug users — as part of a needle-exchange plan aimed at discouraging people from sharing needles — and increasing their risk of AIDS and other diseases.

But the "exchange" part of the program isn't working out quite as planned. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Parks Department workers are finding up to 200 used needles per day discarded in Golden Gate Park. And one administrator says the city is getting back only about 70 percent of the used needles.

Democratic Mayor Gavin Newsom says this is a legitimate concern — and says the city needs to shift some of its focus from needle distribution to collection.

Defection Protection

About 200 Cuban athletes and coaches participating in the Pan American Games in Brazil have been rushed home amid fears by the Castro government that there could be a mass defection.

Media reports say the athletes were whisked to the airport before the end of the games after four participants defected — and amid rumors that many more were planning to join them.

The exodus happened so quickly that the Cuban men's volleyball team did not get to collect its bronze medals. Cuba was running second behind the U.S. in the overall team standings before leaving.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume