Bush admits to CIA secret prisons


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Bush admits to CIA secret prisons

President Bush has acknowledged the existence of secret CIA prisons and said 14 
key terrorist suspects have now been sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The suspects, who include the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks Khalid 
Sheikh Mohammed, have now been moved out of CIA custody and will face trial.

Mr Bush said the prisons were a vital tool in the war on terror and that 
intelligence gathered had saved lives.

He added that the CIA treated detainees humanely and did not use torture.

He said all suspects would be afforded protection under the Geneva Convention.

In a televised address alongside families of those killed in the 11 September 
2001 attacks, Mr Bush said there were now no terrorist suspects under the CIA 

Mr Bush said he was making a limited disclosure of the CIA programme because 
interrogation of the men it held was now complete and because a US Supreme Court
decision had stopped the use of military commissions for trials.

He said the CIA programme had interrogated a small number of key figures 
suspected of involvement in 9/11, the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 in Yemen 
and the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Mr Bush spelled out how the questioning of detainee Abu Zubaydah had led to the 
capture of Ramzi Binalshibh, which in turn led to the detention of Khalid Sheikh

Mr Bush said the CIA had used an "alternative set of procedures", agreed with 
the justice department, once suspects had stopped talking.

But he said: "The US does not torture. I have not authorised it and I will not."

He said the questioning methods had prevented attacks inside the US and saved US

"This programme has helped us to take potential mass murderers off the streets 
before they have a chance to kill," the president said.

The CIA programme had caused some friction with European allies. Some EU 
lawmakers said the CIA carried out clandestine flights to transport terror 

Dick Marty, who investigated the issue of secret CIA prisons for the Council of 
Europe, said it was now up to European governments to reveal what they know 
about secret CIA prisons in Europe.

Revised guidelines

Mr Bush said he was asking Congress to authorise military commissions and once 
that was done "the men our intelligence officials believe orchestrated the 
deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11 2001 can face justice".

All suspects will now be treated under new guidelines issued by the Pentagon on 
Wednesday, which bring all military detainees under the protection of the Geneva

The move marks a reversal in policy for the Pentagon, which previously argued 
that many detainees were unlawful combatants who did not qualify for such 

The new guidelines forbid all torture, the use of dogs to intimidate prisoners, 
water boarding - the practice of submerging prisoners in water - any kind of 
sexual humiliation, and many other interrogation techniques.

The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says that in one stroke the Pentagon is 
moving to defuse all criticism of the way it treats the people it has captured 
in its war against terrorism.

The US administration has faced criticism from legal experts and human rights 
activists over the policy on detentions of terrorism suspects.

Mr Bush also said he was asking Congress to pass urgent legislation to clarify 
the terms under which those fighting the war on terror could operate.

He said the laws must make it explicit that US personnel were fulfilling their 
obligations under the Geneva Convention.

Mr Bush said those questioning suspected terrorists must be able to use 
everything under the law to save US lives.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/09/07 04:18:23 GMT


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