Lithuanian resignation tied to CIA inquiry
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
BERLIN -- The chief of Lithuania's secret service resigned Monday, the apparent casualty of an official investigation into whether the Baltic country allowed the CIA to operate a secret prison for terrorism suspects.
Povilas Malakauskas, director of the State Security Department, did not give a reason for quitting. But Arvydas Anusauskas, the head of a parliamentary committee that is investigating reports of a CIA prison in Lithuania, said the resignation was "partially connected" to the probe.
Anusauskas said that the spy chief had been "ambiguous" when the parliamentary committee began investigating the CIA prison allegations last summer. "If the responses we had requested had been presented to us on time and more thoroughly, there probably would have been no need to hold an investigation," Anusauskas told reporters Monday.
The departure came three days after former Lithuanian president Rolandas Paksas testified that the spy agency had approached him in 2003 for permission to bring foreign terrorism suspects into the country. Paksas said he denied the request but accused the spy agency of unaccountable behavior and blamed it for his political downfall.
"It is difficult for me to say if the prison existed," Paksas told the Baltic News Service. He added, however: "I know that the desire existed to get people suspected of terrorism brought to Lithuania."