Associated France Press (AFP) 2/11/2005
CIA holding terror suspects in secret prisons: report
The CIA is holding its top Al-Qaeda suspects in secret detention centers in eastern Europe and elsewhere set up after the September 11 attacks and known only to a handful of officials, The Washington Post said.
The prisons, known as "black sites," are located in eight countries including Thailand, Afghanistan and "several democracies in eastern Europe," said the daily quoting US and foreign officials familiar with the system.
The names of the eastern European countries were withheld by the Post "at the request of senior US officials," who argued that the disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those countries and elsewhere.
The Central Intelligence Agency has sent more than 100 suspects to the hidden global internment network, said the daily indicating that the number was a rough estimate and did not include prisoners picked up from Iraq.
About 30 of the detainees, considered major terrorism suspects, have been held at black sites financed and managed by the CIA in eastern Europe and elsewhere -- two locations in Thailand and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba were closed in 2003 and 2004, the daily said.
More than 70 other less important detainees -- with less direct involvement in terrorism and having limited intelligence value, some of whom were originally interned at black sites, have been delivered to intelligence services in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan and other countries, the daily added.
The CIA and the White House have dissuaded the US Congress from asking questions in open testimony about the facilities or their conditions, the daily said.
"Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities, what interrogation methods are employed with them, or how decisions are made about whether they should be detained or for how long," The Washington Post said.
The covert prison system is "known only to a handful of officials in the United States and, usually, only to the president and a few top intelligence officers in each host country," said the newspaper, which pieced together the "contours" of the CIA detention program over the past two years.