Bush Acknowledges Secret CIA Prisons
San Francisco (KCBS) -- President Bush on Wednesday acknowledged the existence of previously secret CIA prisons around the world where key terrorist suspects have been held and questioned.
He said the “small number'' of detainees that fall into this category include people responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 in Yemen and the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
``The most important source of information on where the terrorists are hiding and what they are planning is the terrorists themselves,'' Bush said in a White House speech with families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks making up part of the audience. ``It has been necessary to move these individuals to an environment where they can be held in secret, questioned by experts and, when appropriate, prosecuted for terrorist acts.''
The announcement from Bush is the first time the administration has acknowledged the existence of CIA prisons, which have been a source of friction between Washington and some allies in Europe. The administration has come under criticism for its treatment of terrorism detainees. European Union lawmakers said the CIA was conducting clandestine flights in Europe to take terror suspects to countries where they could face torture.
Bush said the CIA program has involved such high-value terrorists as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, believed to be the No. 3 al-Qaida leader before he was captured in Pakistan in 2003; Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged would-be Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker; Abu Zubaydah, who was believed to be a link between Osama bin Laden and many al-Qaida cells before he was also captured in Pakistan, in March 2002.