SCRIPT: CIA Alleged to Have Secret Prisons in Europe 12/05

It seems the Secretary of State is in for a rough European trip this week. Condoleezza Rice arrived in Germany this afternoon during a continent-wide uproar over news reports that the CIA was running secret European prisons, where terror suspects were interrogated using illegal torture techniques. While Secretary Rice today condemned the use of torture, she did not deny the existence of the prisons. And tonight, ABC's Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross has learned exclusive information about those prisons and what was going on inside.

BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS

ABC News has been able to identify the two countries in Eastern Europe where there have been secret CIA prisons. But the CIA has asked us not to report the names of those countries, citing security concerns.

BRIAN ROSS

CIA sources tell ABC News that by the time Secretary Rice arrived in Europe on Monday, the CIA's secret prisons in Europe had been emptied, and the al Qaeda suspects sent to North Africa. At issue are these eight top al Qaeda leaders and three others who have been held in two different Eastern European countries, subject to the CIA's harshest interrogation techniques with no access to lawyers or due process.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE

The captured terrorists of the 21st century do not fit easily into traditional systems of criminal or military justice, which were designed for different needs. We have to adapt.

BRIAN ROSS

Human rights groups have named Poland and this military airbase, along with Romania, as two of the places where CIA planes have landed. Polish TV reports that a former employee here saw numerous private jets last year matching the description of the planes used by the CIA to secretly transport terror suspects around the world. But the Polish minister of defense denied any secret prisons in his country.

RADOSLAW SIKORSKI, DEFENSE MINISTER OF POLAND

The President of Poland has said that there is no truth to these reports.

BRIAN ROSS

Do you accept that, sir?

RADOSLAW SIKORSKI

Of course, he's my President.

BRIAN ROSS

Human Rights Watch also has cited this Romanian military post as the possible location of the second CIA secret prison. Romania has close ties with the US. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld visited the base last year, and this year, the Romanian President visited the White House. On Monday, the Romanian Prime Minister denied there were any CIA prisons in his country.

CALIN TARICEANU, PRIME MINISTER OF ROMANIA

There is no evidence concerning either prisons or flights belonging to the CIA in Romania.

JOHN SIFTON, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

It's entirely possible for a Polish or Romanian official to say, "I didn't know about this," and be telling the truth because it was the last government involved. That's one problem. The second problem is that it's likely that only a handful of people in these countries actually knew about the programs.

BRIAN ROSS

What concerns human rights groups is the secrecy of the prisons and the CIA's secret interrogation techniques. Six increasingly harsh techniques approved by the CIA after a presidential finding that they were not torture.

JOHN SIFTON

Terrorist suspects should be interrogated. They should be prosecuted and held accountable for the crimes they are alleged to have committed. But they need to be held in accordance with the law. They can't be held in secret prisons where nobody has any oversight, or nobody knows whether they are guilty or innocent or who they are.

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