News you may have missed #0129

  • Romanian communist spy boss dead at 80. General Nicolae Plesita, who directed Romania’s Securitate during the country’s communist period, has died. While heading the Securitate’s foreign intelligence service, from 1980 to 1984, Plesita hired the Venezuelan-born operative Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, to assassinate Romanian dissidents in France and bomb the US-owned Radio Free Europe offices in Munich, in 1981. In 1998, Plesita revealed that he had orders from the Romanian government to find temporary shelter for Carlos in Romania after the RFE bombing.
  • Settlement reached in DEA-CIA spying dispute. A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought 15 years ago by a former US Drug Enforcement Administration agent who accused a CIA operative of illegally bugging his home. In a court filing, lawyers for the government and the DEA agent said they “had reached an agreement in principle to settle the underlying litigation”. See here for previous intelNews coverage of this case.
  • Federal judge denies request for CIA secret documents. Hundreds of documents detailing the CIA’s defunct overseas secret detention program of suspected terrorists, including extreme interrogation methods have remained secret after U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on Wednesday refused to release them “in order to protect intelligence methods and sources”. The ACLU argues that the CIA secret program was illegal under international and US law, that it involved the torture and deaths of some inmates, and therefore should not be shielded from public view.

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News you may have missed #0090

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News you may have missed #0087

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Lithuania also hosted CIA black sites, says ABC News

Dick Marty

Dick Marty

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
After Poland and Romania, the former Soviet republic of Lithuania has been identified by US information outlet ABC News as another European nation that secretly hosted CIA prisons after 9/11. ABC News reporter Matthew Cole says former CIA officials told him that the Lithuanian government provided the CIA with a building located in suburban Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, with the understanding that it would be used as a so-called black site for secretly detaining high-value al-Qaeda suspects. The CIA reportedly used the building to detain up to eight suspects for over a year each, until December of 2005, when public rumors about the existence of the prison forced the CIA to abandon it. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0069

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Obama administration denies UN access to Guantánamo, CIA prisons

Guantánamo

Guantánamo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The US government has turned down calls by United Nations human rights monitors for access to the US Pentagon’s Guantánamo Bay prison camp and to CIA prison sites around the world. It is the second time that Obama administration officials have declined this request by UN monitors, despite the administration’s rhetorical commitment to increasing its collaboration on human rights issues with the international agency. Commenting anonymously to The Washington Post, which is one of a handful of US news outlets that are running this story, US government officials said that the Obama administration “support[s] the work of the UN human rights researchers”, but is “constrained in releasing information on sensitive intelligence matters”. The news comes ten days after unconfirmed reports that the US Department of Justice is considering the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the use of torture by US intelligence agencies after September of 2001.

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News you may have missed #0013

  • CIA report on detention, interrogation to be released later today. We were expecting this internal CIA report, on the Agency’s secret detention and interrogation practices under the Bush administration, to come out a fortnight ago, but it was delayed “over debates about how much of it should be censored”. An earlier version of the report was “published” late last year, but was over 90% redacted.  Watch this space for more information.
  • Retired Romanian football star denies being a spy. Gheorghe Popescu, whose international career included playing for British teams, has denied reports (here and here) in Romanian daily Adevarul that he was an informer for Romania’s Securitate, the secret service of communist Romania. () 
  • Ex-CIA chief in Algiers formally charged with sexual abuse. Back in February, intelNews reported on the Agency’s station chief in Algiers, who was unceremoniously recalled to Washington after being accused of drugging and raping two Algerian women at his official residence. He has now been “indicted in Washington on a charge of sexual abuse involving an alleged sexual assault of an unidentified Algerian woman”. He could face a life sentence, if convicted.

CIA terminates secret prisons but rejects prosecutions

Leon Panetta

Leon Panetta

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In a statement issued on Thursday morning, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said it will terminate its secret prison network and would “decommission” all of its overseas prison sites. The news was undoubtedly welcomed by many intelligence professionals who took issue with the use of techniques that President Barack Obama has described as “torture [that] betrayed American values, alienated allies and became a recruiting tool for al Qaeda”. Speaking to The New York Times, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program, Joanne Mariner, said the news was “incredibly heartening and important”. But she called for initiating criminal investigations against those at the CIA who implemented the institutionalization of torture. This is highly unlikely, however. In an email to CIA staff, the Agency’s new Director, Leon E. Panetta, repeated last week the standard CIA position that those responsible for implementing and carrying out torture during the Bush Administration “should not be investigated, let alone punished”. Read more of this post

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