COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Denmark will investigate claims that the CIA secretly used an airport on the Nordic country’s remote Arctic territory of Greenland to transport prisoners in the U.S. war on terror, the prime minister said Thursday.
Denmark, like many other European countries, began investigating reports in 2005 that the U.S. intelligence agency quietly touched down on their territory as part of the CIA’s so-called “extraordinary rendition” program.Human rights groups have criticized the practice, in which suspects are transported for interrogation to countries outside the U.S. for interrogation.
A Danish TV documentary broadcast Wednesday by the DR1 TV network claimed that prisoner flights not only used mainland Denmark’s airports and airspace but also touched down on Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory between Europe and North America.
“In the light of the new information, we will be looking into what happened and if need be, we will ask the Americans for explanations,” Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. He said Denmark has previously informed the United States that any unauthorized use of its airspace was “unacceptable.”
This week’s uproar over the destruction of interrogation tapes by the CIA offers a rare public glimpse into a perennial battle within the agency’s clandestine service. Since Watergate, the CIA’s case officers have been restrained by the expectation that taking risks in pursuit of actionable intelligence would bring career-ending, or even life-threatening, exposure if things went badly and details came to light. CIA leaders, especially after 9/11, have sought to unshackle their operatives by reassuring case officers they would be protected if they took risks. Current CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden said Thursday that the tapes of the questioning of al-Qaeda suspects were destroyed to protect the identities of the interrogators.
Indeed, the man who ordered the tapes destroyed is certainly familiar with the case that agency employees view as one of the worst political betrayals of an operative. Jose Rodriguez headed the National Clandestine Service when he ordered the interrogation tapes destroyed. But during the 1980s and 1990s he was a case officer in Latin America and in the CIA headquarters office that oversees operations there. He served under Terry Ward, the onetime director of Latin American operations who was fired in 1995 by then-CIA director John Deutch. President Bill Clinton’s foreign intelligence advisory board had found Ward “derelict” in his duties for failing to inform Congress of human rights violations by agents of the CIA in Guatemala, including complicity in the death of an American citizen.
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, October 27, 2007; ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — On Sept. 6, 2006, President Bush announced that the CIA’s overseas secret prisons had been temporarily emptied and 14 al-Qaeda leaders taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But since then, there has been no official accounting of what happened to about 30 other “ghost prisoners” who spent extended time in the custody of the CIA.
Some have been secretly transferred to their home countries, where they remain in detention and out of public view, according to interviews in Pakistan and Europe with government officials, human rights groups and lawyers for the detainees. Others have disappeared without a trace and may or may not still be under CIA control.
The bulk of the ghost prisoners were captured in Pakistan, where they scattered after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Among them is Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, a dual citizen of Syria and Spain and an influential al-Qaeda ideologue who was last seen two years ago. On Oct. 31, 2005, the red-bearded radical with a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head arrived in the Pakistani border city of Quetta, unaware he was being followed.
Legal charity urges action on Diego Garcia claims
· Prisoners may have been held in ships off coast
Ian Cobain and Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday October 19, 2007
Diego Garcia Island in the indian Ocean. Photograph: Corbis
Allegations that the CIA held al-Qaida suspects for interrogation at a secret prison on sovereign British territory are to be investigated by MPs, the Guardian has learned. The all-party foreign affairs committee is to examine long-standing suspicions that the agency has operated one of its so-called “black site” prisons on Diego Garcia, the British overseas territory in the Indian Ocean that is home to a large US military base.