By announcing transfer of 14 key terror suspects from secret CIA
custody to US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, US President
George W. Bush acknowledged on Wednesday the prisons'
Bush made the announcement during a speech on counterterrorism
at the White House.
The move paves the way for those suspects to face war-crime
trials at the hands of the US military.
The announcement marks the first time that the Bush
administration publicly acknowledged the existence of secret CIA
Speaking before an audience of families of 9/11 victims, Bush
said the "small number" of prisoners in secret CIA custody include
people responsible for 9/11 attacks, the bombing of the US warship
Cole in 2000 in Yemen and the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Kenya
He said the security of the United States, and the ability to
protect American lives, depends on the ability to learn what the
terror suspects know, adding that information gathered from these
suspects has helped to "connect the dots," and to stop attacks
before they occur.
Bush asserted that if there is no such a secret CIA custody
program, the terrorists would have succeeded in launching another
"It has been necessary to move these individuals to an
environment where they can be held in secret, questioned by experts
and, when appropriate, prosecuted for terrorist acts."
He said the program has been reviewed by administration lawyers
and been the subject of strict oversight from within the CIA.
Bush declined to detail the type of interrogation techniques
that are used through the program, but said there was no
The president said there are no longer any terror suspects being
held at CIA secret prisons but did not say the program will be shut
The 14 key suspects to be transferred to Guantanamo were
previously in the secret CIA custody all over the world, including
Khalid Sheik Mohammed, reportedly the No. 3 al-Qaida leader, Ramzi
Binalshibh, an allegedly would-be 9/11 hijacker, and Abu
Zubaydah,allegedly an associate of Osama bin Laden.
Among them there is also Riduan Isamuddin, also known as
Hambali, suspected of being Jemaah Islamiyah's main link to
al-Qaida and the mastermind of a string of deadly bomb attacks in
Indonesia until his 2003 arrest in Thailand.
The announcement came at a time when Bush is making a series of
speeches to highlight the issue of national security, a strong area
for the Republicans, two months ahead of the midterm elections.
(Xinhua News Agency September 7, 2006)