When the CIA revived a plan to kill or capture terrorists in 2004, the agency turned to the well-connected security company then known as Blackwater USA.
With Blackwater’s lucrative government security work and contacts arrayed in hot spots around the world, company officials offered the services of foreigners supposedly skilled at tracking terrorists in lawless regions and countries where the CIA had no working relationships with the government.
Blackwater told the CIA that it “could put people on the ground to provide the surveillance and support — all of the things you need to conduct an operation,” a former senior CIA official familiar with the secret program told The Associated Press.
But the CIA’s use of the private contractor as part of its now-abandoned plan to dispatch death squads skirted concerns now re-emerging with recent disclosures about Blackwater’s role. [continued…]
Their transformations took place in a sensory cocoon: aboard a CIA aircraft, shackled in place, deprived of sight and sound by blindfolds, headsets and hoods.
They emerged into an existence that was hidden for most of the last eight years, but now is possible to glimpse through dozens of declassified files released by the Obama administration last week.
Scattered throughout, in the CIA’s clinical style, are descriptions of the prisoners’ surroundings, the extraordinary security measures with which they were handled, the often brutal search for answers they were thought to possess, and what passed for everyday life.
Some days seemed endless, illuminated around the clock by a pair of 17-watt fluorescent bulbs. White noise from the walkways filtered through the cell walls usually “in the range of 56-58” decibels, about as loud as people generally talk. [continued…]