CIA And Britain Admit U.S. Rendition Flights Used British Territory In 2002
Reversing an earlier claim, the CIA has acknowledged that two U.S. rendition flights carrying two alleged terrorists refueled on a U.S. base in British territory in 2002. CIA Director Michael Hayden told agency employees in a message on Thursday that information previously provided to Britain that no such flights used British airspace or soil since the 9/11 attacks turned out to be wrong.Britain has confirmed the acknowledgement, as British Foreign Secretary David Miliband made a similar statement in the parliament on Thursday.
“Contrary to earlier explicit assurances that Diego Garcia had not been used for rendition flights, recent U.S. investigations have now revealed that this had in fact occurred on two occasions, both in 2002,” Miliband told the House of Lords.
“In both cases a U.S. plane with a single detainee on board refueled at the U.S. facility in Diego Garcia,” he added.
Hayden said a review of the rendition records late last year found that the refueling, conducted more than five years ago, lasted just a short time.
“We found this mistake ourselves, and that we brought it to the attention of the British government. An important part of intelligence work, inherently urgent, complex, and uncertain, is to take responsibility for errors and to learn from them,” the AP quoted Hayden as saying.
One of the prisoners was ultimately jailed at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and the other was released to his home country, Hayden revealed in the message. He insisted that neither of them was tortured and denied there has ever been a holding facility for CIA prisoners on Diego Garcia, a British island territory in the Indian Ocean.