One of the most repeated justifications for keeping Guantanamo Bay detainees locked up indefinitely at the U.S. government’s offshore prison was to prevent the possibility of accused former al-Qaida operatives from “returning to the battlefield.”

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Now, new revelations by the Associated Press show that at least one program run by the CIA was not only using the prospect of endlesss detention as leverage against individuals who were never charged with a crime, it was actively recruiting prisoners to become double agents so it could, that’s right, “return them to the battlefield.”

And what’s most striking, according to some, is that as the most clearly innocent prisoners languished (as many still do) in a Kafkaesque landscape of indefinite detention without trial, those determined to have some of the most clear ties to al-Qaida were the one’s hand-selected for possible release.

According to AP:

The story was written with input from “nearly a dozen current and former U.S officials” familiar with the program, though all of them spoke under the protection of anonymity.

Though the program is reported to have only generated a “small” numer of active double agents, part of the irony is that those detainees most likely innocent of affiliation with al-Qaida, those held on the flimsiest of evidence, were reportedly the ones of least interest to the CIA and while they remained in legal pergatory—untried but refused released—it was the “more dangerous” detainees, those with established ties to militant terrorism, that were slated for the program and given the prospect of returning to the free world.

As Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer at The Atlantic, tweeted in response to the AP story: