AP: CIA turned former Guantanamo detainees into spies for U.S.


A report by the Associated Press today claimed that some former Guantanamo detainees worked as spies for the U.S. following their release. 

The AP, citing anonymous current and former government officials, reported that a “handful” of Guantanamo detainees were turned into double agents, who “helped the CIA find and kill many top [Al Qaeda] operatives”. The CIA program operated out of eight cottages on “Penny Lane”, located just a few hundred yards from the administrative offices of the Guantanamo detention facility.

“Infiltrating al-Qaida has been one of the CIA’s most sought-after but difficult goals, something that other foreign intelligence services have only occasionally accomplished. Candidates for Penny Lane needed legitimate terrorist connections. To be valuable to the CIA, the men had to be able to reconnect with al-Qaida,” according to the AP article by Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo.

According to the AP, the detainees were promised money, freedom, or that the U.S. would relocate their families to safety if they agreed to sign contracts to work for the CIA. The AP reported that the U.S. government paid “millions of dollars” out of a secret CIA account codenamed “Pledge” to these double agents.

The program reportedly began in 2003 after the CIA recognized that the influx of detainees into Guantanamo offered “an unprecedented opportunity to identify sources”. (Sources told the AP that the program ended in 2006 as Guantanamo received fewer detainees.)

Although the Bush administration at the time characterized the hundreds of detainees as the “worst of the worst” terrorists, the CIA struggled to find viable candidates for their Al Qaeda spy program because “in reality, many were held on flimsy evidence and were of little use to the CIA”.

Although most of those detainees would never be charged, they would spend years in Guantanamo before their release during the Bush administration. Today, more than 150 detainees, many of whom have been cleared for release by the military and intelligence agencies since 2009, remain in Guantanamo awaiting transfer.

“At the same time the government used the risk of terrorism to justify imprisoning people indefinitely, it was releasing dangerous people from prison to work for the CIA,” according to the AP. 


Learn More:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.