Viewing cable 09VILNIUS564
Title: LITHUANIAN MEDIA CONTINUE TO PROBE ALLEGATION OF

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09VILNIUS5642009-10-28 15:02:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXYZ0011
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVL #0564 3011502
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281502Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3830
UNCLAS VILNIUS 000564 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL KMDR LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN MEDIA CONTINUE TO PROBE ALLEGATION OF 
CIA PRISON 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 549 
     ¶B. VILNIUS 487 
 
¶1.  SUMMARY:  In the aftermath of an October 20 presidential 
press conference that reopened the question of whether 
Lithuania hosted a secret CIA prison for terrorist suspects, 
Lithuanian media continue to report on and investigate the 
topic.  GOL officials have by and large claimed ignorance of 
the issue, denied the allegations, or declined comment. 
Media have repeated, but also questioned, information from 
ABC News concerning flights from Afghanistan to Lithuania, 
and have said that a building now used by the State Security 
Department was built several years ago by Americans and could 
have been the site of a prison.  End summary. 
 
¶2.  President Dalia Grybauskaite stated on October 20 that 
she had "indirect suspicions" that reports of a secret CIA 
prison in Lithuania might be true (ref A); her statement was 
made in the course of answering a question on whether 
Lithuania was still considering the acceptance of a 
Guantanamo detainee.  Lithuanian media have covered the story 
extensively, including doing some investigative reporting. 
On October 22, LNK TV news identified a complex of buildings 
about 20 kilometers from Vilnius as a likely site of the 
alleged prison.  The channel's journalists interviewed local 
residents near the Antaviliai base, which is now used by the 
State Security Department.  The base's neighbors said the 
buildings on the site were built several years ago by 
English-speaking American workers and were heavily guarded. 
Only later was the base turned over to the State Security 
Department, the neighbors said.  Security service officials 
declined to comment to the TV journalists. 
 
¶3. On October 27, Prime Minister Kubilius, who was not in 
office when the alleged prison was said to have operated, 
told a national radio audience that he knew nothing about the 
alleged CIA prison, and said a parliamentary committee 
investigating the issue would be able to answer questions 
once it had completed its probe. 
 
¶4.  After ABC News on its website identified several planes 
that it said had made CIA-chartered flights between 
Afghanistan and Lithuania, all media repeated that 
information.  But they later also reported the statement by 
the chairman of the parliamentary committee investigating the 
alleged prison that those planes or flights did not show up 
in Lithuania's civil aviation records. 
 
¶5.  Former President Valdas Adamkus, who was in office at the 
time the prison allegedly operated, had earlier denied that 
any such prison existed.  On October 23 he was quoted as 
saying he had no information about a prison, and that if one 
had been established without his knowledge, Lithuania should 
apologize to the world and prosecute those responsible.  "If 
this did actually occur, and is grounded with proof, we have 
to apologize to the international community that something 
like this went down in Lithuania, and those who did it 
without informing the president and other departments, the 
Seimas (parliament) and the Cabinet -- in my eyes, they are 
criminals," he said. 
 
¶6.  On October 26, LTV televised a discussion of the prison 
issue, on which Adamkus spoke by phone to the program 
moderator. She asked him whether he could call former 
President Bush to ask him about the prison.  Adamkus replied 
that he could, but would not do so.  The moderator asked 
panelists why Lithuania had not sought information about the 
alleged prison's existence from U.S. officials.  The head of 
the Seimas' National Security and Defense Committee said such 
requests had been made, but that the United States was 
following its usual policy of not commenting on intelligence 
matters.  Former Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas then said 
that "the absence of an answer is also a certain answer." 
 
¶7.  The former head of the State Security Department, Arvydas 
Pocius, speculated in an interview that the reason for 
putting out information about the alleged CIA prison in 
Lithuania might have been "to maybe undermine our country's 
possibilities of participation in international projects, 
both in NATO and the European Union.  I believe this has to 
do with bad intentions; this does not help the Alliance and 
the country."  He said he did was "very suspicious" about 
sources used by ABC News in preparing its reports.  Pocius, 
who was head of the Security Department during the time of 
the alleged prison was said to operate, said he knew nothing 
about the prison. "I never had such information and do not 
have any now," he said in an interview carried by several 
news services.  Pocius said he had not been approached by the 
parliamentary committee investigating the topic. 
DERSE