Secret prisons spark outrage – about leaks

WASHINGTON – As Democrats press for an inquiry about cooked” pre-war intelligence on Iraq, the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R- MI, has decided to probe into the recent leak of classified information about secret CIA prisons.

On Nov. 2, the Washington Post revealed the existence of so-called “ghost prisons” used to interrogate terrorist suspects in eight countries, including at least two in Eastern Europe. The revelation didn’t only disturb only the president’s allies – downcast by the news of torture and the indictments handed down as a result of the leak of a CIA agent’s name. Some liberals were also upset, since the Post agreed to a request by senior U.S. officials not to name the countries involved.

Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst at the National Security Archive, said Post reporter Dana Priest and the newspaper deserved credit for "groundbreaking work," but criticized the paper’s decision not to identify the countries,. Two of those countires were later revealed to be Poland and Romania, according to the Financial Times and other news outlets, citing information from the Human Rights Watch.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R- TN, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R- IL, want a congressional investigation into the disclosure, and the GOP leaders argued in a letter that leaking of classified information by employees of the government appeared to have increased in recent years, "establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen."

European lawmakers also want an investigation, and have requested answers from all 25 EU member states, including a number of candidate countries including Bulgaria, Croatia, and Turkey. Officials in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and other former Soviet-bloc nations have denied that their territory has been used to host the secret jails, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports. But in the Czech Republic, the interior minister reportedly admitted that his government recently turned down a U.S. request to build a prison for al-Qaeda captives.