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Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Friday. (Joe Gromelski / S&S)

WASHINGTON — Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday that he is troubled that United Nations investigators never visited the U.S. prison facility at Guantanamo Bay before issuing a report calling for its closing.

“When you write that kind of report and make those allegations without having been there, there’s something wrong with that,” he said during remarks at the National Press Club in Washington. “(The prison) is run in a humane way, and we will continue to treat detainees humanely.”

The report, released Thursday, called for the United States to shut down the prison and either release the prisoners or put them on trial. It was compiled by five independent experts contracted by the U.N. who did not visit Guantanamo, who viewed photographic evidence and testimony of former prisoners to reach their conclusions.

Pace said U.N. officials were invited to visit the prison but told they would only be allowed to interview detainees with a military escort present. He said that option was deemed “unacceptable” by the investigators, who then decided not to visit the facility at all.

He said the facility houses about 500 prisoners currently, all of whom pose a threat to American citizens.

“Some of those who have been to Guantanamo and have been returned to their countries returned to normal lives,” he said. “Others have gone immediately back into the battle and tried to kill us again.”

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