Prison Boss: No Innocent Men in Guantanamo

June 27, 2006 — -- Rear Adm. Harry Harris, the man in charge of the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, talked with "Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, giving his first interview since a riot rocked Guantanamo last month and three inmates committed suicide.

Here is a complete transcript of the interview:

MORAN: How old is this building?

HARRIS: This building was started in 1937 and finished in '38 as the Marine Corps Officers Club. The Marine presence here was a lot bigger than it is now. There was a full battalion here, you know. And after World War Ii we went into the Cold War, and this was the front lines.

It was the Marines. They got the Cuban Frontier Brigade and that old piece.

So the Marine presence here is quite large. And, over the years, its dwindled. And then in the '70s, it became a senior officer quarters. Then it became the JTF quarters when Gen. Miller came. So he was the first resident.

MORAN: Would you have a couple minutes?


MORAN: Items of significanc e...

HARRIS: Yes, I'll show you around. There's no items of significance associated with a house -- what's left of the house.

MORAN: I mean, your...

HARRIS: But there's large -- my stuff I had brought in here. I'd be happy to talk about that.

MORAN: The rugs are interesting.

HARRIS: Yes, they're Afghan war rugs. When I was flying over Afghanistan, you know, I'd buy them out in the Middle East. And when I was stationed in Bahrain, I bought some more.

But these are cheap. You know, this is $50 for this one.

But the history behind them and the novelty is pretty interesting.


HARRIS: They were originally built or made by villages -- villagers in Afghanistan to commemorate some kind of a military thing over the Soviets. These are Soviet AK-47s, Soviet tanks, Hind helicopters and so on.

And then they realized that Americans would actually pay money for them, so they started cranking them out in big style.

MORAN: Naturally.


HARRIS: They are also made in Pakistan these days. These are all Afghan, I believe. At least, I bought them thinking they were.


MORAN: I have a very general question.


HARRIS: Now, am I looking at you or the camera?

MORAN: We're just trying to talk.

Now the first question is a very general question, but it takes off of something that's in the news right now. President Bush has said a few times he wants to close the defensive camp here at Guantanamo Bay.

What do you say?

HARRIS: I support that idea. I mean, we don't want to keep detainees here any longer than we have to. You know, these are enemies of our nation. And I believe they're here for the right reason. But if we can move them out, those that are recommended for release or transfer to other countries for continued detention, we should do that.

MORAN: So you'd like to see this place closed?

HARRIS: I would like to see the need for this place to be ended. However, today, I believe that we have a need for facilities like Guantanamo. And I believe we have, out of the 450 or so detainees we have here, there are probably 300 of them that are serious Taliban and al Qaeda leadership people.

And if we close Guantanamo today without thinking of what to do with them, then the question becomes, what do you do with them? We can't turn them loose, because there is no doubt in my mind, without any doubt whatsoever, that the majority of these 300 or so would return to the fight. And so we have to do something with them. If we don't keep them in Guantanamo, we should keep them someplace else.

So today there's a need for a facility like Guantanamo, and I'd like to see it close as well, but we have to address the issue of what to do with them.

MORAN: Do you think it can close anytime soon? President Bush seems eager to do it.

HARRIS: I think it can be closed anytime that he directs it to be closed. But in that process, I'm sure that we'll be asked to recommend what we should do with those detainees that are serious al Qaeda and Taliban leadership.

MORAN: So in your judgment, as the commander of this detention facility, if Guantanamo Bay goes away for any reason, most of the men here still need to be imprisoned by the United States somewhere.

HARRIS: I believe they need to be in detention by somebody somewhere. Now, that's discounting those are up for war crimes trials now. Those have to be dealt with in that process. But if you discount those, and then at the other end we return to either release or transfer to other countries for continued detention those that we have made that recommendation and the designated civilian official has determined that they could be released or transferred, then if you take the remainder -- and that's about 300 or so -- I agree with what you just said. We must do something with them.

If we let them go, then they'll go back to the fight. And they've told us that. We know that they'll go back to the fight.

And so that's one of the reasons why we have this facility, is to prevent them from returning to the fight on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.

MORAN: Are you holding any innocent men here?

HARRIS: I believe truly that I am holding no innocent men in Guantanamo.

MORAN: How do you know that?

HARRIS: They have gone through a rigorous process to get to where they are today. Not only were they processed on the battlefields in the Middle East by Central Command before they got here.

But after they got here we went through a very rigorous process called the CSRT, the Combatant Status Review Tribunal, which is a Geneva Article 5-like procedure. And that process looked at every detainee -- it was a one-time only process -- and it look at every detainee to determine whether that detainee was an enemy combatant or no longer an enemy combatant.

So if you take those that were determined to be no longer enemy combatants and you sit them aside, then you have the vast majority of the remaining detainees who were judged to be enemy combatants -- after a pretty lengthy evaluation process.

After that was over -- and the CSRT was a one-time deal -- we do since then annual administrative review boards. This is a process that has no precedent in neither Geneva, international law or U.S. domestic law.

And ARB, the ministry review board process, is all about looking at each detainee every year to see if he -- if we can afford the risk of returning that detainee to another country for continued detention or just outright release them, or if we need to keep them here. And that's another very rigorous process.

And we've gone through one complete ARB, and now we're in the ARB-2 -- the second ARB, this year.

So every detainee every year gets looked at by an ARB, and before that every detainee was looked at by the combatant status review tribunal.

So I think at the end of all that, we know who we have here, and we have some very serious enemy combatants here.

Let me qualify that by also -- not qualify, but let me add to that by saying that we have released almost 300 combatants since Guantanamo was first opened. So I believe we're serious in our commitment not to hold detainees here any longer than necessary.

And out of that 300, you know, we've assumed the risk that they can either be released or transferred to other countries for either continued detention processing or release.

MORAN: So no man who ever came to Guantanamo Bay came there by mistake was innocent?

HARRIS: I believe that to be true.

MORAN: You call it a rigorous process. The rest of the world calls it a monkey trial, secret evidence, no resources or advocacy for those accused, no recognizable legal due process.

How do you answer that?

HARRIS: Well, I believe that most of the rest of the rest of the world probably doesn't agree with your position. And I think a lot of people believe that what we are holding here are enemy combatants.

I think this process is very fair. Again, out of 800 or so combatants that have come through here, we've released over 300, or about 300 of them.

And we continue that process now. We have about 130 detainees here that we have determined -- we being not me but we being the United States -- we have determined about 130 of these folks we can afford to release them or return them to their countries for continued detention.

That's 130 folks that are waiting (ph) for their countries to be ready to accept them. So I think it's a very fair process.

And at the end of the day, what we have left are enemies of our nation. There is no expectation in international law that we do anything but detain them.

You know, it's a recognized principle in international law that belligerents can hold enemy combatants. And we certainly have these folks that we've taken off the battlefield that have gone through these processes we just spoke about.

And I believe that we were doing the right thing by detaining them here. And I think the opinion of a lot of people is changing in that regard.

MORAN: You do.


MORAN: That people believe that Guantanamo is a just detention facility, that the detainees here are getting full legal access to their rights.

HARRIS: They are getting more legal access here than can, I believe, that there is historical precedence for. Detainees are represented by a habeas attorneys. Those that are going before the commission's process have defense attorneys, defense counsel.

I just read editorials in the New York Times over the weekend supporting the idea of a facility like Guantanamo, if not Guantanamo then another facility like Guantanamo someplace else.

QUESTION: Has the name Guantanamo, what it's come to symbolize in the public imagination around the world, is that a burden? Is that almost -- can you almost not get that stain in the public imagination off of this place?

HARRIS: You know, that's an interesting question. I don't know that answer. I don't -- you know, I don't feel any trepidation when I tell my friends and family that I'm here in Guantanamo. And I think the troopers that are here -- and you've had the opportunity to meet some of them -- I believe that they are proud of the work they do.

And if there are folks who are outside of Guantanamo look upon us in a negative way, then that's their right to do. And what we have to do is continue to do the job that we were assigned to do, and do it to the best of our ability -- and I believe we're doing it.

MORAN: Excuse me -- we just -- ABC News just published a poll. Our poll showed that while the majority of Americans believe that suspects need to be detained, 70 percent of -- more than 70 percent think they should not be detained indefinitely without charges. Majorities of Republicans and conservatives, liberals, Democrats.

But that's what you're doing, retaining people indefinitely without charges.

HARRIS: I believe that that's a message, the second part of that message. The first part obviously goes with what I said before, that people support the need to detain enemy combatants.

The second part is probably my inability to articulate it correctly to folks who come through Guantanamo. And what I'm trying to articulate -- and I need to do a better job of it -- is the fact that what we are doing here is not a criminal process. And I believe that most Americans support the notion that you don't detain criminals indefinitely without a whole due process piece associated with the history of American jurisprudence. And I would agree with that.

But what we have here are not criminals. What we have here are enemy combatants. So the analogy of what we have in Guantanamo would be a prisoner of war, though they're not prisoners of war, per se, they're detained enemy combatants. But the analogy is they're prisoners of war.

And there is no expectation that a detaining country would release a prisoner of war during the conduct of an ongoing war, conflict. Nor is there an expectation, I believe, by a reasonable person, that prisoners of war enjoy rights that criminals would enjoy, because it's a different kind of an entity, different kind of a concept.

And the fact that 70 percent of Americans in your poll don't understand that is more my fault than anyone else's fault. And I need to do a better job of articulating that.

MORAN: One more on this general legal topic. The Combat Status Review Tribunals that you've mentioned, they were studied by lawyers. And that study found that the military's own records show that 55 percent of the detainees here never committed a hostile act against the U.S. or coalition forces. Only 8 percent were found to be, by the military, al Qaeda fighters. And only 5 percent were actually captured by U.S. forces, many of the rest sold into captivity.

Is that a problem?

HARRIS: Two issues on that, two points to make on that.

One, it's not a problem. But the first point is that that study was a Seton Hall study, and that study only looked at half of the available documentation. It looked at the documentation from the detainee side and not the government side for reasons for national security or classification or whatever.

So it only looked at half of the records. And then that part of the record was also redacted for security reasons.

So the basis, the underlying premise of that study is based on less than half of the information that was obtained. And if they draw a conclusion from that, I mean, a solid, serious conclusion from that, then I believe that any reasonable person would agree that that's a faulty conclusion.

The second part of it is, regardless of how they came to Guantanamo, whether they were captured by American troops or whether they were captured by allied troops in the Middle East, principally in Afghanistan and surrounding regions, they have gone through this process that we talked about before.

They went through a process on the battlefield. They went through the Combatant Status Review Tribunal. All of them have been through one ARB, administrative review board. And now we're in the second ARB. And in that process, 300 of them have been released, about 300.

And now we have the remainder, and we're going through that process every day to determine if we can assume the risk of releasing or transferring the rest.

And out of that process, there's about 140 of them that we've marked for either transfer or release, and we're waiting for countries to accept them. But as a professional military man in the United States Navy, doesn't it bother you that you might be holding a lot of people who were sold into captivity by bounty hunters associated with the Northern Alliance?

HARRIS: I don't believe that they were -- one, it doesn't bother me. I don't believe they were sold into captivity by the Northern Alliance.

MORAN: The U.S. offered bounties of upwards of $25,000.

HARRIS: I believe that they were captured on the battlefield. They were turned over to the United States. They were reviewed on the battlefield by American commanders. They were transferred to Guantanamo. And since then, we have reviewed them two full times and then we're working on the third now.

And in that process, we have released or recommended for transfer scores of detainees.

So I don't believe that we have any here that shouldn't be here, though I do believe that we have some here that we can afford the risk of returning, and that's about 140 or so, and I now we're working -- the State Department is working very hard to secure their transfer or release.

MORAN: Because they're small fry, not that important.

HARRIS: That's one of the rationales. One of the things that we look at or some of the things that we look at is their intelligence value and their risk to U.S. forces should they be returned to their home countries. So we look at that, and that's part of the calculus that goes into our recommendation.

But our recommendation is only one of many recommendations that go into that process. OARDEC, the Office of Administrative Review for Detained Enemy Combatants, coordinates that process. And the OARDEC folks make their recommendation to the designated civilian official. And he makes the decision on whether a given detainee should be continued for detention here, should be detained in Guantanamo or transferred or released.

MORAN: Is any detainee allowed to see the evidence against him?


MORAN: That doesn't seem fundamentally fair.

HARRIS: It's not fundamentally fair in a criminal sense, but these are not criminals. These are detained enemy combatants.

MORAN: But how can you answer the accusation that you're an enemy of the United States when you're not -- they just won't tell you the evidence against you?

HARRIS: If the enemy is firing at you and then he's captured on the battlefield, if he's thrown a hand grenade and killed some of your troops, then that's a reason to detain him as an enemy combatant.

MORAN: But 55 percent of them committed no hostile acts against the U.S. or coalition allies.

HARRIS: You have to define hostile act. You know, we have a lot of detainees here...

MORAN: (inaudible)

HARRIS: ... and so would being a facilitator for money flows, transfer flows, forgers. You know, these are people that are high in the leadership of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Now we have folks here who I would refer to as almost white-collar terrorists. I mean, they're experts in money flows, experts in recruitment, in training and whatever. They might not have actually carried a gun, some of them. But that doesn't mean that they're not dangerous.

In fact, in many cases, I believe that that makes them more dangerous.

MORAN: Some of the detainees who've been released to other countries, including Great Britain, which is not soft on terrorism, have been released, like that. They didn't think they were dangerous at all.

HARRIS: That is a decision that Great Britain made, and I have no comment on the decisions that another country makes, once the detainees are released to them.

MORAN: Doesn't it raise any doubts about the fact that they were held here for years?

HARRIS: Absolutely not, because I have read the reports of those detainees, and I know why they were brought here, and I know what they did. So I'm very comfortable, in fact, that we detained them. And if Britain or any other country decides as a sovereign nation to release them, that's their business.

MORAN: You took years from them, conditions and that ...

You know the basic accusation from human rights groups, that the conditions of the detention facility you run and the interrogation techniques used there are, to use the Red Cross's term, "tantamount to torture."

HARRIS: I believe the Red Cross recanted that. Most recently, the Red Cross -- in a Reuters' article last May, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross stated that the conditions in Guantanamo have improved considerably and that they are satisfied with their access to detainees.

And we give the International Committee of the Red Cross complete and unfettered access. In fact, they are on the island right now, this very moment, interacting with the detainees and with the joint detention group.

MORAN: Your relation with the Red Cross is good.

HARRIS: I believe my relationship and America's relationship with the International Committee of the Red Cross is terrific. Their advice to me is meaningful, it's useful, and it's confidential. It's confidential in the sense that we have an agreement that they'll tell me what they think I need to know, and I'll consider that and either act on it or not, but I won't talk about it. And that affords them the confidentiality and we don't have to worry about it.

So I don't talk about what the Red Cross tells me, other than they said to the press before, in the Reuters' piece.

As far as the other international organizations and entities, the European Parliament came to visit us last month. And Mr. James Ellis from England commented on the fact that he thought that Guantanamo was a very good facility. And he raised the question: What would we do without Guantanamo? You know, there's a need for facilities like this.

And I believe that he had it just about right.

MORAN: But you know that Amnesty International calls this place part of an American gulag. And even some of our allies in Great Britain and elsewhere are saying that this place should be closed because of what it does to the American reputation for human rights around the world.

HARRIS: Then whether it should be closed and the American response to those outrageous charges are questions that should be taken up with, you know, with the leadership, with the secretary of defense, his office, and entities like that. But I will say, however, that based on what I know here and based on what I know of the history of what has gone on in Guantanamo since it was first used as a detention facility back in 2002, why those charges are simply outrageous. They, they, they throw a stain on the great American men and women, young men and women who I believe are doing a fantastic job here.

And all you have to do recently is look at that report by the or that article by the International Committee of Red Cross, read James Ellis's letter, read the Belgian OSCE, Office of Security Cooperation in Europe's, findings that they felt Guantanamo was, quote/unquote, "a model prison and better than Belgian prisons."

So I believe that all that points to the fact that organizations that would say outrageous things about Guantanamo do so for political gain and not from any basis of fact.

MORAN: Has any detainee been tortured?


MORAN: You're certain.

HARRIS: I am certain of that, and I say -- I can state that unequivocally. No detainee has been tortured in Guantanamo. We have had numerous investigations of torture -- of allegations of torture. And not a single allegation has been substantiated.

MORAN: You studied the ethics of war. Define torture.

HARRIS: Torture, I believe, is subjecting a prisoner or a detainee or a human to a pain, probably unbearable pain, for personal pleasure and satisfaction.

MORAN: Only for personal pleasure and satisfaction.

HARRIS: That is one.

MORAN: What if you subject someone to pain for the purpose of getting information? Is that OK?

HARRIS: I believe -- it is not OK. It is not OK.


HARRIS: And I believe that subjecting a person to unnecessary pain, torture, if you will, is a very poor interrogation technique, and the results have shown, I believe, the history has shown, that it just doesn't work. There are better ways to interrogate detainees. And I believe we do it right here.

MORAN: Can interrogators here at Guantanamo Bay make a detainee stand on a box for eight hours?

HARRIS: They cannot.

MORAN: They cannot.

HARRIS: They cannot.

MORAN: No such positions are used.

HARRIS: That is correct.

What we do now in Guantanamo is we use essentially rapport building. It's less an interrogation than it is an interview, like we're having. You know and you could -- your questions to me are not unlike what our interrogators pose to the detainees here.

MORAN: But you're not shackled to the floor.

HARRIS: That's correct. And I'm also answering you freely. So, but the choice, though, is mine to answer you. And the choice is the detainee's to answer their interrogators.

And not all of the detainees are shackled to the floor.

MORAN: So the technique that the secretary of defense has allowed, the manipulation of the environment, temperature, dietary manipulation, stress positions -- they aren't used here?

HARRIS: Those techniques were used for a very short period of time. And they were resented.

So we stick closely, precisely, to the Army Field Manual on Interrogations. And that's what we follow. And I believe the interrogators here -- you've met some of them yesterday -- they're professional young men and women; they know their business. And some of them -- Mr. Ruster (ph) is not necessarily young -- but they know their business. And they know how to -- how to interrogate to the maximum effect without abusing or harming the detainees.

And I think the detainees -- they either tell them what -- they either tell them information, or they don't. But there's no making them talk or making them tell information.

MORAN: A lot of people are going to hear you say these things, and they've listened to detainees who've been released and lawyers who've talked to detainees, who have said the detainees are abused here, regularly.

And they're going to say Admiral Harris is feeding us the party line.

HARRIS: Well, all I can suggest is that if they're in the media, that they should come visit, as you have and other folks have had the chance to come down here; they should talk to the International Committee of the Red Cross; they should talk to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; they should talk to the many folks who have come to Guantanamo.

And I believe that the vast majority of the folks who have visited us, their minds have been changed, because they see how we do business. And they see that what we do is not torture. It's not abusive.

MORAN: But we see only one side of the story, the side you want.

HARRIS: Right. Of course.

MORAN: Can we talk to detainees while we're here?

HARRIS: No, you can't.

MORAN: Why not?

HARRIS: That's a policy decision that's not mine to make.

MORAN: We have written permission from some of the detainees and their lawyers.

HARRIS: Right.

MORAN: And their family. Can we talk to them?

HARRIS: You cannot.

And again, it's -- that's a policy decision that I'm not going to -- you know, I can't. That's not my policy to change.

But I support that idea that they cannot.


HARRIS: Because we don't know the security information that they might share. And they might share information of a security nature that might jeopardize other detainees, that might jeopardize other detainees' families that are not here and whatnot. So we can't afford to do that. And I believe it's in the best interests of the camp as a whole not to do that.

MORAN: Switch gears again here.

OK. The day the three detainees committed suicide, when you heard about it, what went through your mind?

HARRIS: The first thing -- they called me about -- a little after midnight. The first thing I wanted to know was how did they do it? And then, are there other detainees that are at risk of committing suicide?

And so, I went down to the camps, and the whole leadership team was down there. And we looked at it. And then the next thing that happened was we convened an investigation. The Navy Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS, was brought in to do that investigation, to do the death scene investigation. And that investigation is still ongoing.

MORAN: So the first thing that went through your mind when you heard about the suicide was how did they do it.

HARRIS: How did they do it?

MORAN: Did you have any sense of pity?

HARRIS: I felt -- I was disappointed that...

MORAN: Disappointed.

HARRIS: ... that the detainees were able to take their lives, and we weren't able to stop them, so disappointment in that regard.

I also felt that what a shame it would be if this was an act that was manipulated or caused by other detainees for some political gain. And I believe, my personal opinion, because the investigation is still ongoing, so I can't talk about what the investigation has found out or whether it's even -- if there's more to find out. But I believe that the detainees killed themselves as an act of resistance -- you know, I've said before: an act of asymmetric warfare; that it wasn't an individual detainee killing himself because he was despairing of continued attention.

There were three detainees that killed themselves in very similar fashion. And I believe that they did it in a planned operation.

MORAN: I want to pick up on that.


MORAN: I'll ask it again. You called the suicide of three human beings who were in prison under your care and protection an act of asymmetric warfare. It shocked a lot of people. Do you regret using those words at all?

HARRIS: No, because I believe in what I know. I believe that they are the truth.

It did shock a lot of people, and I've been castigated in the media -- in certain quarters of the media -- for saying it. But the fact is that I find it egregious that three human beings would, in fact, kill themselves, being manipulated to do so by other human beings, to kill themselves. And so that's what I find shocking, that's what I find egregious.

And we know that this isn't first time that this sort of action has been attempted in Guantanamo. You know, last May we had a couple of detainees try to kill themselves by overdosing on drugs, none of which -- none of whom were actually on any meds. So they had to get those drugs from other detainees who were part of the operation to have two or three folks kill themselves.

MORAN: But how can a man in a 6-by-8 cage commit an act of war against you?

HARRIS: And that is exactly what asymmetric warfare is. It's when two folks, two powers, two entities are fighting and one is by all measures stronger than the other, then asymmetric warfare is a way to wage combat by the power that has the lesser power.

And in the case of these detainees, you know, they hung themselves, hung themselves with things that they had in their cells, which is unfortunate, but it happened.

MORAN: Do you have any pity for their families, the people that knew them before they came to Guantanamo?

HARRIS: Of course I feel sorry for their families and the people that they are close to. I feel bad, sorry that these folks felt the need to respond to other detainees and be willing to take their own lives for this. But they made that decision and we're moving on from that and dealing with it.

MORAN: There was one commentator, a conservative, who said that your description of these suicides as asymmetric warfare is evidence that Guantanamo Bay needs to be closed, because it's dehumanizing senior officers of the United States military.

HARRIS: I'm not familiar with that commentary. But I believe that it's just the opposite. It shows just how serious and how dangerous the detainees we have here are and how committed they are to their version of jihad.

MORAN: Admiral, how do you know they aren't just in despair?

HARRIS: We have, I believe, a very professional behavioral health unit that exists solely for the mental health benefit of the detainees. And detainees are routinely reviewed by the behavioral health unit. We have detainees that are on constant and long-term observation. Two of the detainees who killed themselves by hanging earlier this month, they had been seen recently by the behavioral health unit and had been cleared, had evidenced no mental disorder.

I believe some of the commentary that came out of the Middle East suggests that they, in fact, had no mental disorder. But they managed to kill themselves because they wanted to, because they felt that that would help them and their cause here, not unlike, I might add, a suicide bomber in the Middle East, the suicide bombers in London.

You know, they felt committed to their cause, and they killed themselves for their cause. And that is exactly what happened here, I believe, in Guantanamo. And we'll await the results of the NCIS investigation for confirmation of that.

MORAN: They left suicide notes. Have you read them.

HARRIS: I have.

MORAN: Can we see them?

HARRIS: You cannot now, because it's still part of the NCIS investigation.

MORAN: Will you release them?

HARRIS: That won't be my call.

MORAN: Should they be released? You looked at them (ph).

HARRIS: I believe that it's fine to release them, but that decision has to be part of a investigation. And once that investigation is done, we'll see, you know, how that turns out.

MORAN: Can you tell us what they said?

HARRIS: I cannot.

And I don't mean to be resistant to the question. It's simply because it's part of the investigation.

MORAN: Are you proud of the work you do here?

HARRIS: I am very proud of the work that I do here. But more than that, I'm proud of the work that the troopers do here, the young American men and women, both military and civilian, who work inside the wire and deal with these folks every day.

I'm very proud of the work that they do. And I hope that you have the chance to interact with them during your visit here.

MORAN: It's a challenging assignment for them, for young Americans to be faced with men who are saying they're innocent or who are hurling excrement at them. You think they're doing a good job.

HARRIS: I think they're doing a great job. But I do agree with you wholeheartedly that it's a big challenge for all of us to be down here. But it's not a challenge because we think that the work we're doing is not important or valid; the challenge is because we're dealing with detaining enemy combatants every day.

But it's a great challenge. And I think that the troopers here are living up to that challenge every day. And I think the American people are proud of them and will be even more so after they see this "Nightline" week with you.

MORAN: Last question. You're a student of history. How will history judge this place?

HARRIS: I don't know how history would judge this place. I guess we'll have to read that -- we're going to have to wait a little bit to see.

But I think, at the end of the day, history will judge America's effort in the global war on terror in a very positive light. And I think...

MORAN: Including here?

HARRIS: Including -- including and perhaps especially here. But I say that, again, you know, trying to guess what history is. And who knows what it is until it happens.

But I think the work we're doing here is important. I think the American people appreciate the work that we're doing here. Just your poll itself would support that thesis.

And I believe the work that we as a nation are doing in the global war on terror is important and will be judged so by history.

MORAN: Thank you. Thank you so much.