Before the United States denounced Muammar Gaddafi's repressive reign and helped to topple him, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was enlisting Gaddafi's notoriously brutal security forces to question terrorism suspects, according to documents discovered in Qaddafi's compound.
The CIA and its British counterpart, MI-6, began collaborating with Libyan intelligence forces as part of a thaw in relations after Libya abandoned its nuclear program in 2004. But the documents revealed the extent to which Western countries relied on Libya to conduct secret renditions, which allowed the CIA to circumvent safeguards against torture by transporting terrorism suspects to other countries -- in this case, Libya -- for interrogation.
The rendition program was all about handing over these significant figures related to Al Qaeda so they could torture them and get the information they wanted, Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, told The New York Times after studying the documents in Tripoli.
Memoes specifically discussing renditions appear to have proliferated after Libya renounced its weapons program, with one suggesting a list of 89 questions Libyan interrogators could ask suspects after they were picked up and dropped off in Libya. Another mentioned delivering them a member of a group seeking Gaddafi's overthrow known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, similar to what we have done with other senior L.I.F.G. members in the recent past.
We are also eager to work with you in the questioning of the terrorist we recently rendered to your country, reads a letter apparently sent from a CIA official. I would like to send to Libya an additional two officers and I would appreciate if they could have direct access to question this individual.
CIA Spokeswoman Jessica Youngblood dismissed the idea that there was any controversey it can't come as a surprise that the Central Intelligence Agency works with foreign governments to help protect our country from terrorism and other deadly threats. But British Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered a parliamentary investigation into the extent of MI-6's collaboration with the Gaddafi regime. President Barack Obama has so far remained silent.