December 8, 2011 / by emptywheel


Archiving Terrorists in the False-Floored Cells in the Basement

Goldman and Apuzzo are back on the dark sites beat, this time with a description of the dark site in Bucharest, Romania where the CIA stashed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others after shutting down the site in Poland.

This prison was built into the basement of a classified archive now used by NATO and the EU.

Unlike the CIA’s facility in Lithuania’s countryside or the one hidden in a Polish military installation, the CIA’s prison in Romania was not in a remote location. It was hidden in plain sight, a couple blocks off a major boulevard on a street lined with trees and homes, along busy train tracks.

The building is used as the National Registry Office for Classified Information, which is also known as ORNISS. Classified information from NATO and the European Union is stored there. Former intelligence officials both described the location of the prison and identified pictures of the building.


The basement consisted of six prefabricated cells, each with a clock and arrow pointing to Mecca, the officials said. The cells were on springs, keeping them slightly off balance and causing disorientation among some detainees.

Of course, the site presumably couldn’t have served as an archive for NATO and the EU at the time it was being used as a prison starting in Fall 2003. Romania entered NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

Now, perhaps this was an old communist era facility, as the Polish prison was.

But it sure seems ill-advised for Romania to turn an old CIA prison–where torture prohibited by the EU charter took place–into an EU bureaucratic archive.

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