CIA Kept Secret Prison in Bucharest Neighborhood

AP investigation uncovers details of black site in Romania
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2011 10:51 AM CST
CIA Kept Secret Prison in Bucharest Neighborhood
The National Registry Office for Classified Information, sits in a busy residential neighborhood minutes from the center of Romania’s capital city of Bucharest in this recent photo.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – The CIA's secret "black site" prison in Romania wasn't in some remote region of the country, but smack dab in the middle of a busy residential neighborhood near the center of Bucharest, the AP has discovered in a joint investigation with German public television. Sources say the prison was located in the basement of the building housing Romania's National Registry Office for Classified Information, aka ORNISS—although a senior ORNISS official denied that, saying, "No, no. Impossible, impossible."

story continues below

The CIA would bring detainees in through a secret back gate down a side street, sources said, then put them in one of six cells—each of which was on springs to keep detainees subtly off-balance and disoriented. Detainees then faced a month of sleep deprivation, with guards dousing them with water (but no waterboarding), slapping them, and forcing them to stand in stress positions. After their initial interrogations prisoners were treated more humanely, however, and their religious needs were considered; each cell had a clock and an arrow pointing towards Mecca, and Halal food was specially shipped in. The prison was operational from the fall of 2003 through the first half of 2006, and reportedly held 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad and Faraj al-Libi. (Read more ORNISS stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.