Povilas Malakauskas, head of Lithuania's State Security department, left without prior public notice after two years in the position. Lithuanian media quoted Arydas Anusauskas, head of a parliamentary committee investigating the prison, as saying that the intelligence chief stepped down "in part" because of the government's effort to investigate the details surrounding the CIA facility.
Anusauskas told LNK TV that much of the government's investigation could have been avoided if the intel chief had told the truth about his department's involvement in the CIA program. Anusauskas told ABC News that the resignation was first discussed in September, when Malakauskas refused to provide information to investigators.
On Nov. 18, ABC News revealed the location of the secret prison, where harsh interrogation techniques were allegedly used on accused al-Qaeda terrorists, in a converted horseback riding facility 20 kilometers northeast of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. Where affluent Lithuanians once rode show horses and sipped coffee at an attached café, the CIA installed a hidden concrete structure where it could hold up to eight "high value detainees" at a time, a current Lithuanian government official and a former CIA official told ABC News.
For many of the residents of this former Soviet state, it is reminiscent of the KGB's secret prisons. "As a Lithuanian," a local woman told ABC News, "I am not very proud of this."
"The activities in that prison were illegal," said John Sifton, a New York attorney whose firm One World Research investigates human rights abuses. "They included various forms of torture, including sleep deprivation, forced standing, painful stress positions."
After ABC News revealed the location of the prison, a top Lithuanian official said that the report was damaging to his country's reputation.
"Obviously, this is not helping Lithuania's image," Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas told the Baltic News Service. "Therefore it is vital that we conduct an investigation and clear any doubts." Usackas also warned Lithuanians not to believe "rumors or wild tales."
Within weeks, however, the Lithuanian government investigation had confirmed that the CIA operated a secret black site prison in the country.
According to Lithuania's LNK TV, sources told investigators that State Security was involved in coordinating the construction of the prison, and also provided the code name of the operation to transport terror detainees to the prison.
It is not known which suspected al-Qaeda figures were in Lithuania, but 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad was moved out of the CIA's secret prison in Poland just before the Lithuanian facility was opened. According to sources who say they saw the facility, the riding academy originally consisted of an indoor riding area with a red metallic roof, a stable and a cafe. The CIA built a thick concrete wall inside the riding area. Behind the wall, it built what one Lithuanian source called a "building within a building."