CIA Kept Man in Secret Prison Despite Knowing He Was Innocent

New report details the 'outrageous' case of Khaled al Masri
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2016 5:00 PM CDT
CIA Kept Man in Secret Prison Despite Knowing He Was Innocent
A new report details how the CIA held German citizen Khaled al Masri, seen here in 2008, in a secret prison for five months despite being pretty certain they had made a mistake.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

German citizen Khaled al Masri was held and interrogated in a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan for five months in 2004—during which time he was kept in a “small cell with … a bucket for his waste”—despite the CIA being fairly certain he wasn't a terrorist and didn't know any terrorists. That's old news at this point. But an internal CIA report released this month following a Freedom of Information Act request from the ACLU shows Masri's detention was "even more outrageous" than previously believed, McClatchy DC reports. To start with, the report reveals two CIA agents justified Masri's continued detention in the face of a complete lack of evidence because they just "knew he was bad." And it gets worse.

Masri was “questioned in English, which he spoke only poorly," according to the report. He was also accused of traveling around Europe with a fake German passport; yet no one at the CIA even looked at his passport until he had spent three months in prison. It was real. The CIA also admitted had Masri been detained by the US military, he probably would have been released "within hours." And it appears CIA agents and officials spent the last two months of Masri's detention trying to figure out how to release him without admitting they made a mistake. In the end, they dumped him in Albania, then pretended they'd never had him in the first place. Adding insult to injury, two of the men most responsible for Masri's ordeal were promoted. The ACLU is attempting to get Masri an official apology from the US. “This is the very least President Obama can do … before leaving office,” McClatchy quotes Masri's attorney as saying. Read the full story here. (More Khaled el Masri stories.)

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