Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Leaks about CIA Prisons Overseas Spark Fury

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Leaks about CIA Prisons Overseas Spark Fury

Article excerpt

Allegations of a veiled network of CIA prisons overseas have added another chapter to the story of US detention policies in the post-9/11 age - and resulted in furious reactions from Eastern Europe to Washington's Capitol Hill.

Romania and other ex-Soviet bloc nations have hurriedly denied they know anything about such secret jails, while in the US the CIA and top congressional Republicans want to find out who leaked the story in the first place.

If nothing else, this flurry of activity serves to keep the words "detention" and "America" linked in news reports around the world. In the US, the government faces the prospect of an internal investigation only weeks after vice presidential staffer I. Lewis Libby was indicted in another leak case. "When you get into investigations around here, where does it end?" asked Sen. Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi on Tuesday.

On Nov. 3, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had set up a covert network of prisons overseas to hold high-value terrorism suspects. At times the web contained as many as eight sites, said the Post - some of them in now- democratic East European countries.

The news story did not name the countries in question. The nongovernment organization Human Rights Watch, however, issued a statement last week saying that it had information that CIA airplanes traveling from Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004 made direct flights to remote airfields in Romania and Poland.

For instance, a Boeing 737 that the CIA had previously used for prisoner transport - registration number N313P - flew from Kabul to Poland's Szczytno-Szymany airport on Sept. 22, 2003, Human Rights Watch said. Polish intelligence maintains a large installation near that location.

The N313P plane landed at Mihail Kogalniceanu military airfield in Romania the next day, said Human Rights Watch. The plane then went on to Morocco, and ultimately Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

From the US point of view, the most important legal aspect of the network itself may not be the existence of the prison, but the conduct of the jailers inside them. …

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