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From CIA Jails, Inmates Fade Into Obscurity

Another prisoner on the commission's list was Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi, a Saudi accused of planning attacks in the Arabian Peninsula. He surrendered to Saudi authorities in June 2003.

Although the Sept. 11 commission reported that Ghamdi was in U.S. custody, Saudi officials said that was not the case. They said he remains in prison in Saudi Arabia and has never left the country.

"He was never, under no condition, in U.S. custody," said a Saudi security source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Officials with the International Committee of the Red Cross said they have failed to find dozens of people once believed to have been in CIA custody, despite repeated queries to the U.S. government and other countries.

"The ICRC remains gravely concerned by the fate of the persons previously held in the CIA detention program who remain unaccounted for," said Simon Schorno, a Red Cross spokesman in Washington. "The ICRC is concerned about any type of secret detention."

The CIA declined to comment on whether certain individuals were ever in its custody.

"Apart from detainees transferred to Guantanamo, the CIA does not, as a rule, comment publicly on lists of people alleged to have been in its custody -- even though those lists are often flawed," said Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman.

Out in the Cold

When the Bush administration disclosed last year that 14 senior al-Qaeda leaders had been transferred to Guantanamo -- leaving the CIA prisons temporarily vacant -- some conspicuous names were missing from the list.

One was an al-Qaeda training camp leader known as Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi. He was arrested in the Pakistani border town of Kohat in late 2001 and eventually taken to Cairo, where the CIA enlisted Egyptian intelligence agents to help with the interrogation.

Libi began to talk. Among his claims: that the Iraqi regime had provided training in poisons and mustard gas to al-Qaeda operatives.

His statements were cited by the Bush administration as part of the rationale for invading Iraq in 2003. He recanted after the war began, however, and his continued detention became a political liability for the CIA.

Although the CIA has since acknowledged that Libi was one of its prisoners, U.S. officials have not disclosed what happened to him. In interviews, however, political exiles from Libya said he was flown by the CIA to Tripoli in early 2006 and imprisoned by the Libyan government.


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