The US may try to head off legal challenges to the detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay by releasing some prisoners, the Pentagon has said.
It comes after the US Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that the detainees should be able to challenge their detentions in US courts.
Chief Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita said no decision had been made on how to respond to the ruling, but he said:
"Everybody has a desire not to hold people that need not be held".
BBC Pentagon correspondent Nick Childs says it is increasingly clear that the Bush administration was caught off-guard by Monday's Supreme Court ruling.
By a margin of six to three, the court decided that the nearly 600 prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay did have a legal right to challenge their captivity.
The ruling passes no judgement on the guilt or innocence of those being held, but it does open the possibility that hundreds of appeals will now be launched in US courts on behalf of the detainees.
The Pentagon spokesman noted that the US has already been setting up an annual review process for the nearly 600 prisoners being held at the US naval base on Cuba.
Under the system - due to begin soon - a panel of three military officers will carry-out case-by-case reviews to determine whether prisoners no longer pose a security threat and can be released.
The Pentagon has already released more than 130 prisoners. But the reviews have been criticised by campaigners because the prisoners will continue to be refused access to lawyers.
Our correspondent says it is far from clear whether the Pentagon's reviews will head off all the expected legal challenges to the detention process.
The Supreme Court ruling is being seen as the biggest legal setback to President George W Bush since his war on terrorism began following the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Detainees from 40 countries are currently being held at the Cuba base. Most of them were captured in Afghanistan in late 2001 during the US-led invasion to oust the Taleban regime.
Many have spent more than two years in captivity without being charged.
THE WORLD IS A BRIDGE, CROSS IT, BUT BUILD NO HOUSE UPON IT!
IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH? ... TRESSPASS HERE AND FIND OUT
CIA agent Geoffrey Kemp talking about Saddam Hussein:
WE KNEW HE WAS A SON OF A BITCH, BUT HE WAS OUR SON OF A BITCH