The paper develops a theory of the symptom and argues for a symptomal analysis of contemporary political situations in particularly those that resonate with exception. By focusing on Guantánamo and habeas corpus petitions the paper analyses the language of law and public attitude towards the closure of the facility. The paper shows how the legal situation of detainees’ post 2010 is not determined by the binary distinctions (identity/difference, normal/exceptional), but by attempts to eliminate these binaries and bring detainees under the normal rule-of-law. These attempts are social fantasies producing contemporary world. Fantasies are always fragmented at their core, and Al-Adahi case with the lack of public response to it reveals this fissure in the form of ‘the return of the repressed’. In doing so the paper shows how the overcoming of the exception is a fantasy of modern politics, and points to the moment the repressed truth is revealed.