ABC News is congratulating itself about its "exclusive" reporting exposing a formerly secret CIA prison in Lithuania. Aside from the damage to the CIA from yet another expose, the report also has negative consequences for Lithuania. The head of Lithuanian intelligence resigned yesterday in the aftermath of the report.
After ABC News revealed the location of the prison, a top Lithuanian official said that the report was damaging to his country's reputation.I realize that we can't expect a shred of patriotism or concern for national security from most U.S. news organizations, but the obvious self-satisfaction at ABC is still grating. Never mind that future attempts to gain the cooperation of friendly states on intelligence matters are likely to be far more difficult. They clearly can't trust us to keep secrets secret. Why cooperate and risk exposure, international embarrassment, or negative political consequences? Lithuania assisted the U.S. by hosting a secret CIA facility and what thanks does it get? It gets a U.S. news organization running around its country exposing its secrets. Plus it gets terrorist rights supporters using its country for anti-American propaganda, and accusing it of being complicit in "torture."
"The activities in that prison were illegal," said John Sifton, a New York attorney whose firm One World Research investigates human rights abuses. "They included various forms of torture, including sleep deprivation, forced standing, painful stress positions."Needless to say these are allegations based on very little, other than his own interpretations, including about what constitutes torture. But Sifton, an American, has no problem disseminating anti-American propaganda.
About the only positive in the story is the response of the CIA itself.
The CIA declined to talk about the prison. "The CIA's terrorist interrogation program is over," said CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano. "This agency does not discuss publicly where detention facilities may or may not have been."It's good to see that the agency is refusing to comment, as it should about any intelligence matters that are supposed to be secret.