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Investigators Probe Possible Sabotage of Guantanamo Interrogations by Interpreter - 2003-10-07

Investigators examining possible security breaches at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are now considering the possibility that interrogations of hundreds of suspected Taleban and al-Qaida detainees have been sabotaged by interpreters.

Officials at the U.S. military's Miami-based Southern Command tell VOA that investigators dispatched to Guantanamo Bay last week have broadened their inquiry and are now investigating whether information gleaned from more than a year of detainee interrogations has been compromised by translators.

The officials stress that no cases of sabotage have been pinpointed to date, but that there is concern that some Arabic-language interpreters may have provided inaccurate translations of interrogators' questions and detainees' responses.

Tuesday, the New York Times reported that military investigators are reviewing recordings of interrogation sessions to check the accuracy of translations provided by dozens of linguists - both military and civilian.

The possibility of sabotaged interrogations is the latest element in a probe of possible espionage and security breaches at Guantanamo Bay, a U.S. naval station located in southeastern Cuba. About 660 detainees from the war on terrorism have been held there - some for nearly two years.

From the start of the detainee operation, U.S. officials have maintained that a central goal is to obtain information that could be useful in the war on terrorism.

Three men are being held in connection with the inquiry: a U.S. Army Muslim chaplain assigned to Guantanamo and two linguists, suspected of possible espionage relating to the removal of classified information from the camp. An American sailor who worked at the detainee camp was recently questioned but released. No charges have been filed so far.