Twice in the past three years, the Lithuanian Parliament investigated reports that the CIA secretly imprisoned al-Qaeda leaders in this Baltic country. Both times, legislators concluded that there was no evidence.
Now the Parliament is investigating a third time, and it is looking a little harder. Fresh reports of covert CIA flights carrying prisoners from Afghanistan to Lithuania, as well as the revelation that U.S. contractors built a high-security complex at the edge of a forest near Vilnius, have added to the suspicions.
Many Lithuanian officials said they remain unconvinced that their country’s secret services allowed the CIA to detain international terrorists. A few legislators blame Russia and other outside interests for inventing the allegations in an attempt to besmirch Lithuania’s reputation.
But increasingly, after years of issuing denials, Lithuania’s leaders are no longer ruling out the possibility that the CIA operated a secret prison in this northern European country of 3.5 million people, and that its government will have to deal with the fallout. [continued…]