CIA Torture Allegations: He Said, She Said, She Didn’t Say…

We were already confused over the status of a government apology to Khaled al-Masri pertaining to his alleged abduction and mistreatment at the hands of the CIA.

It seems that both the German and US governments may be just as confused:

The German government said on Wednesday it stood by comments from Chancellor Angela Merkel that the United States has admitted it made a mistake in detaining a German citizen and imprisoning him in Afghanistan.

At a news conference on Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Merkel told reporters Washington had acknowledged it erred in detaining Khaled el-Masri, who says he spent months in jail in Afghanistan where he was beaten.

However, a senior U.S. official later disputed that Rice had made such an admission and suggested Merkel was mistaken.

German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm rejected that suggestion on Wednesday, telling reporters: “The comments, as they were made yesterday, are valid.”

Mr. al-Masri isn’t confused, though. He wants an apology and compensation, and plans to sue to get it:

THE innocent German citizen at the centre of CIA torture claims has told how he was abducted from Macedonia and held in a secret prison in Afghanistan for five months.

The details emerged after Khaled al-Masri announced he was suing former CIA director George Tenet, saying he’d been tortured.

“I want an apology, and I want to know why this happened to me,” Mr al-Masri said. “What happened to me was outside the bounds of any legal framework, and should never be allowed to happen to anyone else.”

This may be the source of the backtrack from Condi’s admission of error:

Senior US administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said admitting error would be a boon to Mr al-Masri’s lawsuit. A CIA representative said, “We don’t comment on matters before the courts.”

It’s time for the CIA to suck it up on this one and admit that it screwed up royally.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

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