After years of denials, two former Polish leaders acknowledged yesterday that they had allowed a secret CIA prison to operate on their territory, but they insisted they never authorized the harsh treatment or torture of its inmates. Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former Prime Minister Leszek Miller spoke to journalists after the Senate report condemning CIA practices at secret prisons was released. The report did not identify the host countries. "The US side asked the Polish side to find a quiet site where it could conduct activity that would allow [it] to effectively obtain information from persons who had declared a readiness to cooperate with the US side," Kwasniewski said. "We gave our consent to that."
Kwasniewski said Poland demanded that people who would be held in the country should be treated humanely as prisoners of war, according to their rights. He said the site was part of "deepened" intelligence cooperation with the US in the fight against terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks, and he insisted he had no knowledge of what took place inside it. He said this form of cooperation was halted in late 2003 and he only learned that detainees had been tortured there from leaks to the press years later. Kwasniewski and Miller both criticized the publication of the Senate report, saying it hurt the interests of the US and of its allies at a dangerous time for international security. (Read more CIA stories.)