Nov. 29, 2010— -- Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah proposed that the Obama administration implant electronic micro-chips into the bodies of Guantanamo Bay detainees to track their movements when they are released, a leaked State Department cable shows.
"This was done with horses and falcons, the King said," according to the document, which was first posted online by Wikileaks. Abdullah suggested Bluetooth technology could be used to keep tabs on the men.
The king raised the idea in a March 2009 meeting with White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan in Riyadh, where the men had discussed a range of security issues including closure of the U.S. military detention center of Guantanamo Bay.
"I've just thought of something," the King said to Brennan, suggesting the chips.
Brennan responded politely, explaining that "horses don't have good lawyers" and the idea would likely face stiff opposition from civil libertarians in the U.S. He assured Abdullah, however, that "keeping track of detainees was an extremely important issue" to the administration.
A recent Pentagon analysis found that around 20 percent of former Guantanamo detainees have returned to the fight against the U.S. and continues to climb.
Brennan told Abdullah that the Obama administration was committed to closing Guantanamo and was working closely with Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Nayef on how to resolve the cases of 99 Yemeni detainees.
Adbduallah made an "unusual concession" at the end of the meeting, according to the cable, saying "be assured I am fully briefed on the work you are doing with Prince Mohammed bin Nayef."
The Brennan-Abdullah meeting is one of dozens of interesting anecdotes buried within the initial release of more than 250,000 secret U.S. government documents exposed by Wikileaks Sunday and posted online.
In a 2008 cable to Washington, U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Tatiana Gfoeller, said a discussion with Britain's Prince Andrew was "astonishingly candid" and "at times verged on the rude (from the British side)."
The prince, who is a special British trade representative, displayed "almost neuralgic patriotism whenever any comparison between the United States and United Kingdom came up," according to the cable.
When a British businessman, who also participated in the discussion, pointed out that the United States had invested less in Kyrgyzstan relative to the size of its economy than Great Britain, the prince retorted, "No surprise there. The Americans don't understand geography. Never have. In the U.K., we have the best geography teachers in the world!"