Bright Light (CIA)
Bright Light is the codename of one of the Central Intelligence Agency's network of black sites -- clandestine interrogation centers. The location of the site, in Bucharest, Romania, was confirmed in an exclusive report from the Associated Press on December 8, 2011.
Some of the most important captives in the high value detainee program, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, were held there. Other sites in the CIA's network were in isolated locations. The Bucharest site was housed within the campus of the Romanian National Registry Office for Classified Information, explaining the need for high security.
The cells the captive were held in were mounted on springs, to keep the captives off balance. According to ABC News captives were subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques" in the Bucharest site, but were not subjected to the controversial technique of waterboarding.
Authorization from the Romanian government
President Ion Iliescu claimed in a Der Spiegel interview that he approved just the use of the location, without knowing the details about the secret prison. The US government requested at the end of 2002/beginning of 2003 a building for CIA and Iliescu approved it, making presidential adviser Ioan Talpeș in charge for the details.
Talpeș said that he understood that the situation could "become dangerous", so he told CIA that the Romanian government doesn't want to know anything about how the building is used.
These statements contradict the result of a 2008 investigation of the Romanian Parliament which concluded that no CIA prisons existed in Romania.
- Goldman, Adam (2011-12-08). "AP Exclusive: Inside Romania's secret CIA prison". Google News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
The existence of a CIA prison in Romania has been widely reported but its location has never been made public until a joint investigation by The Associated Press and German public television, ARD Panorama. The news organizations located the former prison and learned details of the facility where harsh interrogation tactics were used. ARD's program on the CIA prison will air Dec 8.
- "AP Exclusive: In basement of Romanian government building, CIA ran secret prison". The Washington Post. 2011-12-08. Archived from the original on 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
For years, the building — codenamed Bright Light — housed some of the CIA’s most important terror suspects, including Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the mastermind of 9/11. Even after the detainees were shipped off to Guantanamo Bay in 2006 and reports about the prison began to surface, the Romanian government repeatedly denied any knowledge of its existence.
- "CIA's secret prison reportedly spotted in Romania". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Associated Press. 2011-12-08. Archived from the original on 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
In northern Bucharest, in a busy residential neighbourhood minutes from the heart of the capital city, is a secret the Romanian government has long tried to protect.
- Cole, Matthew (2011-12-08). "Another Secret CIA Prison Found". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
Another CIA secret prison was located and identified today in Eastern Europe, and unlike others previously discovered, this one is in a heavily populated section of a capital city. According to an AP investigation, the CIA housed six so-called high-value terrorism detainees in a Romanian government building in central Bucharest, in the midst of a leafy neighborhood and next to a railway line.
- Spillius, Alex (2011-12-08). "CIA 'used Romania building as prison for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
It was judged ideal for housing al-Qaeda suspects and submitting them to what the Bush administration called "enhanced interrogation techniques" because as an established government facility, it didn't require heavy security and local residents had learnt not to pry.
- "Folter in Rumänien: Ex-Staatschef Iliescu gibt Existenz von CIA-Gefängnis zu". Der Spiegel. 2014-04-22.