By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Attorneys for a former detainee at a secret CIA prison said in a court filing this week that intelligence officials had falsely claimed in public statements that his interrogations were not videotaped, that all videotaped interrogations stopped in 2002 and that only a small number of CIA detainees were subjected to unusually harsh interrogation techniques.
The basis of the assertions was redacted from the filing by the Bush administration, under an unusually stringent security order that blocks the attorneys for Majid Khan from disclosing evidence of the alleged falsehoods or detailing how Khan was treated while in CIA custody.
Khan, one of 14 detainees whom the CIA secretly imprisoned before transferring them last year to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has said he was systematically tortured. His attorneys at the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights have been pressing for a court order to prevent the government from destroying evidence of his treatment.
"Inaccurate statements by senior intelligence officials about the tape destruction, and false statements about Khan's experience in CIA custody, raise substantial concern that torture evidence in this case may be lost or destroyed absent a court order," attorneys Wells Dixon and Gita Gutierrez wrote.
The three statements that Khan's lawyers said were false were made by CIA Director Michael V. Hayden and unnamed intelligence officials quoted in news reports.
CIA spokesman George Little said yesterday that Hayden has said in speeches that the videotaping of interrogations stopped in 2002 and that about 30 of 100 CIA prisoners had required "special methods of questioning."
"The agency stands by those statements," Little said. ''I can't speak to unattributed quotes in press reports.''
Khan's attorneys, citing their top-secret security clearances and their agreement not to disclose classified information, said they could not comment on their court filings.
"We're under an extremely restrictive gag order that in many ways is making our representation extremely difficult and certainly compromises the public's ability to know what's happening," Gutierrez said. "We are challenging a state-sanctioned system of torture, the details of which the government is keeping secret.''
Gutierrez said she hopes the government will release more information about the detainees' incarcerations.