Saturday, November 04, 2006

U.S. seeks silence from CIA prisoners: W. Post

U.S. seeks silence from CIA prisoners: W. Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration is arguing that detainees held in secret CIA prisons shouldn't be allowed to describe in court how they were interrogated, the Washington Post reported in its Saturday edition.

The government believes that interrogation methods used by the CIA are among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets, and that their release "could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage," the Post said, citing recent court filings.

Terrorists could incorporate the information into their counter-interrogation training, the government told Judge Reggie Walton.

The government is trying to block access to 14 detainees transferred in September from the secret prisons to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

An attorney for the family of one of those detainees, 26-year-old Majid Khan, responded in a court document that there is no evidence that he has top-secret information, the Post said.

"The executive is attempting to misuse its classification authority ... to conceal illegal or embarrassing executive conduct," lawyer Gitanjali Gutierrez wrote, according to the Post.

The government argues that detainees such as Khan have no right to speak to a lawyer under the new Military Commissions Act, which established separate military trials for terrorism suspects, the Post said.

The government also is concerned that lawyers could pass information back and forth for detainees, the Post said.

Captives who have spent time in CIA prisons have said they were sometimes treated harshly with techniques like "waterboarding," which simulates drowning, the Post said.