The Central Intelligence Agency paid millions of dollars in cash to foreign governments to help convince them to host black sites where the agency could carry out its disputed detention and interrogation programs, according to a new Senate Intelligence Committee report released on Tuesday.
The countries are not named in the unclassified version of the report, but other clues help offer their locations. They are identified by color codes, and The Washington Post identifies the five countries mentioned in the report as Poland (blue), Lithuania (violet), Romania (black), Afghanistan (various colors across four sites), and Thailand (green).
The CIA provided millions of dollars in cash payments to the governments, while instructing station officers in those countries to compile "wish lists" of possible areas of assistance that could entice the countries to host CIA black sites.
In one of the countries, the CIA began scouring sites for potential detention facilities without notifying the country’s political leadership. It also set aside millions of dollars for the facility's construction.
Around the same time, the CIA offered tens of millions of dollars in subsidies to three different countries to house clandestine sites:
In a separate country, the CIA secured the approval of the country's political leadership to establish a so-called black site without informing that country's U.S. ambassador. This level of secrecy was a common theme throughout the report, which says that even President George W. Bush wasn't fully informed about the nature of the detention and interrogation program until 2006.
And in this example, the report says the CIA also lied to the country about what kind of facility it wanted to build within the country:
At one of the sites in Afghanistan (detention site COBALT), the CIA provided small, out-of-pocket sums of cash to local officials that housed detainees in facilities that did not meet international standards.
According to the report, one CIA officer said he would give local officials a "few hundred bucks" per month so he could bring whoever he wanted to the site, "no questions asked." CIA cables referenced in the report indicate that officials transferred at least four detainees to these facilities because they did not meet the CIA's standards for detention — in short, the CIA could do whatever they wanted with the detainees:
The report also says that the CIA constructed two facilities in other countries that were never used, due to political considerations in those countries. The construction of such facilities contributed to $300 million in non-personnel costs for the controversial detention and interrogation program:
President Barack Obama spoke to Poland Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz on Tuesday. A senior administration official said they had discussed the release of the Senate report, though an earlier White House readout of the call did not mention that discussion and the official didn't offer any specifics.
Poland has never acknowledged that it housed a clandestine CIA facility. But earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Poland had violated the rights of two terror suspects by permitting them to be transferred to a CIA-run facility in the country.
The White House did not say whether Obama had spoken with other foreign leaders who reportedly allowed the CIA to run clandestine facilities in their countries. But in general, one senior administration official said the administration hopes and has "confidence that foreign governments understand this program was ended years ago" when Obama entered office.
"We could not protect the American people without the cooperation of foreign governments," the official said.
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.