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CIA director defends US secret detention program

[JURIST] CIA Director Michael Hayden [official profile] defended the United States' secret overseas detention and interrogation policy Friday, saying that the program had obtained vital information about the terrorist threat against the US detailed in a July report [PDF text]. Hayden also said that fewer than 100 people total had been detained at secret overseas facilities since the 2002 capture of Abu Zubaydah [BBC profile]. Hayden criticized reports by the European Parliament that at least 1,245 CIA flights used European airspace or airports, saying they as misleading because they assume that all of those flights were for rendition [JURIST archives] purposes. AP has more.

In June, Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty [personal website] concluded in a report [COE materials; JURIST report] for the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe that the CIA directly ran secret detention facilities in Europe with the "requisite permissions, protections or active assistance" of European governments, and that the framework for the cooperation was developed secretly among NATO members. The report was part of the COE's investigation into alleged secret detention centers [COE materials] and illegal rendition flights [JURIST news archive] operated by the CIA in Europe. Some European lawmakers have criticized [JURIST report] Marty's findings for failing to cite sources. US President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of the secret CIA prison program [JURIST report] last year, but did not disclose any details.

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