Sunday, January 01, 2006

Michael Scheuer in Zeit about special renditions

Just read about Scheuer's interview in Die Zeit concerning the special renditions. The Zeit site (sorry for the rhyme) is having problems at the moment, so I couldn't get the full article. Here is one page I was able to get and translate. I hope to be able to do more tomorrow.

ZEIT: Mr. El-Masri says that he was tortured. He was in a CIA prison in Afghanistan.

Scheuer: If he was in a CIA prison, he certainly wasn't tortured. Period.

ZEIT: But he claims he was.

Scheuer: That doesn't surprise me. Perhaps he wants to see some money. Everyone wants that.

ZEIT: He further claims that a German interrogated him in Afghanistan. How is that possible?

Scheuer: I don't know if that is correct. It is possible. Our government and our intelligence services are trying to assist NATO allies. If the Germans interrogated him, then it seems reasonable that the Germans thought they could learn something from him.

ZEIT: How many such cases are there with European Muslims?

Scheuer: Not very many, because the Europeans mostly don't cooperate. That's why we tried to get these people when they weren't on European soil.

ZEIT: El-Masri is surprised that the American interrogators knew details from his daily life. This knowledge can come only from German intelligence services. Or did the CIA spy in Germany?

Scheuer: I am certain that such information didn't come from us. If we had information about El-Masri's activites in Germany, then it came from one of the German intelligence services. And that makes it probable that it was more than a rumor that led to his arrest.

ZEIT: What is the future of the "special renditions"?

Scheuer: The program is probably dead. Because of the leaks, the publications [of details], and the criticism. And for those who bear responsibility in the intelligence services, the effect is sobering: none of those who ordered us to act in the way we did will now admit it.

The questions were posed by Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff.

On this topic:

Michael Scheuer left the CIA in November 2004 after 22 years of service. From 1995 to 1999 he led the unit that hunted for Osama bin Laden. Since 2000 he was one of the head terrorist-fighters at the CIA. While he was still serving at the CIA he wrote a critique of the American anti-terror policy (Imperial Hubris). Since that time Michael Scheuer has come to be regarded in the CIA as "one who fouls his own nest" [idiomatic expression "Nestbeschmutzer"].