Penny Lane (Guantanamo)

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The Central Intelligence Agency operated a controversial secret facility, known as Penny Lane, on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

The Facility's common name was taken from a Beatles song, from the same album that gave the common name to Camp Strawberry Fields—the camp where the CIA's most prominent torture victims were to be kept "Forever".[1][2][3]

Penny Lane was to be used to turn particular captives into double agents, who would be released, to penetrate terrorist organizations, and inform on them, from within.[1][2][3] According to Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, of the Associated Press, Intelligence officials who insisted on anonymity asserted that the double agent program had successful graduates—individuals who were believed to be trustworthy enough to be released early, and who would then betray terrorists. However, they acknowledged that at least some of those individuals defected, and stopped reporting back to the CIA.

In anticipation of the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Rasul v. Bush, which was going to allow access to habeas corpus for individuals held in Guantanamo, Penny Lane, and other CIA black sites, like Camp Strawberry Fields, were shut down.[1][2][3]

The conditions of confinement were reported to have been comfortable, with every individual provided with a private suite, with a real bed, private bathroom, kitchenette, and private patio.[1][2][3]

Russia Today quoted Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon analyst, who asserted the CIA's double agents would be "enemies in their own countries".[7]

Following the release of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA's use of torture, some Press Reports would later assert that Penny Lane remained in operation, after the CIA stopped holding its own captives there, and that it was the site Scott Hickman identified as "Camp No", when three captives died under mysterious circumstances, on June 9/10, 2006.[8][9][10]

The American Conservative reported that the CIA employed rogue psychologists to help unbalance the individuals the CIA was trying to recruit.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Adam Goldman, Matt Apuzzo (2013-11-26). "Penny Lane: Gitmo's other secret CIA facility". Washington, DC: Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2016-07-02. Retrieved 2016-09-14. The program and the handful of men who passed through these cottages had various official CIA codenames. But those who were aware of the cluster of cottages knew it best by its sobriquet: Penny Lane.
  2. ^ a b c d e Andy Worthington (2013-11-29). "Penny Lane: What We Learned This Week About Double Agents at Guantánamo". Archived from the original on 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2016-09-14. There, in eight small cottages, the CIA housed and trained a handful of prisoners they had persuaded to become double agents, according to Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, who spoke to around ten current and former US officials for their story. All spoke anonymously "because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the secret program."
  3. ^ a b c d e David Usborne (2013-11-26). "Revealed: Guantanamo suspects were 'turned' into double agents at secret facility". The Independent (UK). Archived from the original on 2014-08-29. Retrieved 2016-09-14. The cottages, which went by the codename Penny Lane, had their own patios, kitchens and private showers. Perhaps most tempting of all, they featured proper beds with regular mattresses.
  4. ^ Shoba Rao (2014-12-08). "Secret CIA report containing graphic detail on torture techniques on 9/11 prisoners could endanger lives". The Australian. Archived from the original on 2016-01-31. Retrieved 2016-09-14. A portion of the Naval Station Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, including the secret facility known as Penny Lane (in white). In the early years after 9/11, the CIA turned a handful of prisoners at the secret facility into double agents and released them.
  5. ^ Joseph V. Micallef (2016-03-01). "Could Barack Obama Give the Guantanamo Naval Base Back to Cuba?". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2016-09-10. Retrieved 2016-09-14. There is also a small site, nicknamed "Penny Lane," where inmates that the CIA was attempting to recruit as double agents to spy on al-Qaeda were held.
  6. ^ Pratap Chatterjee (2013-12-05). "CIA's disastrous "Bourne" strategy: The agency decided that there was no aspect of secret war which couldn't be corporatized". Salon Magazine. Archived from the original on 2015-11-02. Retrieved 2016-09-14. Last month, the Associated Press revealed that the CIA had selected a few dozen men from among the hundreds of terror suspects being held at Guantanamo and trained them to be double agents at a cluster of eight cottages in a program dubbed "Penny Lane."
  7. ^ "CIA's Gitmo double agents are 'enemies in their own countries', have nowhere to return". Russia Today. 2013-12-01. Archived from the original on 2014-09-11. Retrieved 2016-09-14. 'Double agents' that the CIA allegedly hired from among the ranks of Guantanamo inmates would not be able to return to their home countries without deep suspicion being cast on them, former Pentagon Security Analyst Michael Maloof told RT.
  8. ^ Alexander Nazaryan (2015-01-15). "To live and die in Gitmo". Newsweek magazine. Archived from the original on 2016-09-02. Retrieved 2016-09-14. According to the AP's revelations about "Penny Lane" (someone with a dark sense of humor must have really liked the Beatles: Another CIA site at Guantánamo Bay was dubbed "Strawberry Fields"), this was a site where "CIA officers turned terrorists into double agents and sent them home." The three detainees may have had little intelligence value when captured, but that could have made them precisely the sort of "converts" the CIA sought to release without arousing suspicion among jihadists.
  9. ^ Ray McGovern (2014-10-14). "A Murder Mystery at Guantanamo Bay". Consortium News. Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-09-14. Horton also cited testimony from camp guards on duty that night, saying "the three had been removed from their cells and transported to a secret facility known to the camp guards as 'Camp No,' which was later revealed by the Associated Press to have been a facility used by the CIA for prisoner interrogation and treatment known as 'Penny Lane.' They were removed from that facility to the camp clinic and an alarm issued shortly thereafter.
  10. ^ "The Guantánamo "Suicides" Revisited: Did CIA Hide Deaths of Tortured Prisoners at Secret Site?". Democracy Now. 2015-05-21. Archived from the original on 2016-09-09. Retrieved 2016-09-14. The new evidence includes an eyewitness account of al-Zahrani on the night of his death which indicates he may have died from torture and suffocation during questioning at a secret black site facility at Guantánamo known as Camp No, or Penny Lane.
  11. ^ Philip Giraldi (2014-03-13). "America's Torture Doctors: Despite grossly violating their oaths, CIA and military physicians escape professional censure". American Conservative. Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2016-09-14. CIA psychologists also participated in the "Penny Lane" conditioning program at Guantanamo that sought to turn prisoners into double agents.

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