Page 3 of 3   <      

New Swedish Documents Illuminate CIA Action

CIA officials told the Swedes they had a private jet with special security clearances that could fly nonstop to Cairo on a moment's notice. Andersson, the Swedish police commander in charge of the case, characterized the offer as a "friendly favor from the CIA which allowed us to have a plane that had direct access throughout Europe and could take care of the operation very rapidly."

About 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 18, the CIA plane left Cairo for Stockholm. About a half-hour later, the Swedish government ministers voted to expel Agiza and Zery.

By 5 p.m., Swedish police had arrested both men and were waiting for the plane to arrive. Already, however, problems had begun to surface.

Two unnamed officials from the U.S. Embassy informed Swedish officers that there would be no room on the jet for them on the trip back to Cairo. The Swedes complained and were ultimately given two seats on the plane, but raw feelings persisted.

"I felt that they were backing into our territory," an unidentified female Swedish security officer told investigators, according to a transcript of her interview.

More conflicts arose after the plane landed. One Swedish officer walked up the steps of the aircraft to greet the crew and was surprised to see that the agents -- a half-dozen or so Americans and two Egyptians -- were wearing hoods with semi-opaque fabric around the face, even though the small airport was essentially deserted.

"I told them that you don't need to wear hoods because there is no one here," the officer recalled in his statement to investigators. The foreign agents ignored him.

The Swedish police said they were also perplexed by a demand from U.S. agents that they be allowed to strip-search the prisoners, even though the two men had already been searched and were in handcuffs. The Swedes relented after the captain of the plane said he would refuse to depart unless the Americans were allowed to do things their way, the documents show.

The prisoners were taken into the airport police station, one by one, to be searched.

One agent quickly slit their clothes with a pair of scissors and examined each piece of cloth before placing it in a plastic bag. Another agent checked the suspects' hair, mouths and lips, while a third agent took photographs from behind, according to Swedish officers who witnessed the searches.

As the prisoners stood there, naked and motionless, they were zipped into gray tracksuits and their heads were covered with hoods that, in the words of one Swedish officer, "covered everything, like a big cone."

Swedish police later marveled that the whole search procedure took less than 10 minutes. "It surprised me," one officer told investigators. "How the hell did they dress him so fast?"

Paul Forell, a Swedish airport police officer who was on duty that night, added: "Everything was very smooth, professional. I mean, I thought, they have done this before."

Zery later complained to his lawyers that the CIA agents tranquilized him by inserting suppositories in his anus during the search and that the two prisoners were forced to wear diapers. Swedish police officers said they couldn't recall if the Egyptians had been forcibly medicated.

Investigators did find a report written by one of the Swedish officers that said Agiza and Zery were both "probably given a tranquilizer before takeoff."

While investigators said they could not prove that the prisoners had been forcibly medicated, such a tactic would have violated Swedish law.

In a January letter to parliamentary investigators, the new director of the security police, Klas Bergenstrand, said the decision to rely on the CIA was a mistake.

"In my judgment, it is clear that some of the measures adopted after the two Egyptians had arrived at Bromma Airport were excessive in relation to the actual risks that existed," Bergenstrand wrote. "For my part, I would find it alien to use a foreign aircraft with foreign security staff."

<          3

© 2005 The Washington Post Company