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US Reviews Security Procedures at Guantanamo After Spy  Suspects Arrests - 2003-10-02

The top U.S. military commander says he is not surprised that at a time of war, terrorists or their supporters are apparently trying to infiltrate the special U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Three men who worked at the Guantanamo prison facility for suspected al-Qaida terrorists and Taleban fighters have been detained in recent weeks on suspicion of espionage.

General Richard Myers, Chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the fact that the suspects have been caught is "good news", though he concedes security procedures at the base in Cuba are under review.

"I think the fact that some people have been apprehended and alleged with these very serious crimes is an indication of some of the good news," he said. "We also clearly will look at all of our procedures for vetting. SOUTHCOM [the U.S. military's Southern Command] has a team down there right now to look at the various aspects of that. But it should not be a surprise that at a time of war that people try to infiltrate this way and it wasn't."

The three men detained so far are a Muslim military chaplain and two Arabic-language translators.

But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, appearing at a news briefing with General Myers, says the Pentagon has no plans to single out Arab or Muslim members of the armed forces for special scrutiny because of the arrests.

"People who happen to be of one religion, I don't think one has to assume they have a monopoly on this type of activity," he said. "Plenty of people have done things that are from every conceivable religion in this country and so too people in and out of the service, so I think that [profiling] would not be a useful way to approach it."

Some 660 al-Qaida and Taleban suspects are being held at the maximum security detention facility at Guantanamo.

Mr. Rumsfeld dismissed suggestions that the commander of the facility should be dismissed because of the spy affair.