UNCLAS VILNIUS 000620
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINR LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN MEDIA REPEAT AMERICAN JOURNALISTS'
REPORTING ON ALLEGED CIA PRISON
REF: VILNIUS 549
Â¶1. SUMMARY: Lithuanian media on November 19 widely repeated
reports published online by ABC News and the Washington Post
providing further information about a CIA prison that was
said to exist in Lithuania from March 2004 to November 2005.
The reports said that the likely site of the alleged prison
was at a former riding stable in the Vilnius suburb of
Antaviliai, a site now used by the Lithuanian security
services. GOL officials declined comment on the reports.
Â¶2. Lithuanian TV and online news media picked up reports by
ABC News and the Washington Post that provided additional
detail on what they said was a likely site for an alleged CIA
prison for terrorist detainees. Basic information about the
alleged prison already had appeared (reftel) in the
Lithuanian media, which relied on reporting by ABC News. The
new articles repeat allegations that the alleged prison was
located on the grounds of a former riding stable, which they
stated was purchased by the now-defunct American company
Elite LLC and staffed by a rotating group of "tight-lipped"
American guards, according to neighbors. The articles also
alleged that the prison was made up of "prefabricated pods"
built inside a barn at the site, that the renovated buildings
contained 110-volt American electric outlets, and that all
materials used in the construction were shipped from the site
in containers and not disposed of locally.
Â¶3. The Washington Post article quoted Domas Grigaliunas,
identified as a former Lithuanian military
counterintelligence official who claimed to be involved in
early planning for the site. In the article, he said, "I
have no documents to prove it, and I never worked in any
prisons, but I believe they existed here." The ABC news
article also cited an unnamed "current Lithuanian government
official" as a source of information.
Â¶4. GOL officials have declined to comment to local media
about the substance of the latest reports. Arvydas
Anusauskas, chairman of the Seimas (parliament) National
Security and Defense Committee investigating whether such a
prison existed, said only that the committee would talk to
all officials who might have knowledge of the alleged prison.
Â¶5. Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said, "To tell the truth,
everything I read today in the press about foreign
publications, I understand, was republished from what was
told by our press." He said he did not know the identity of
the anonymous official cited by ABC.
Â¶6. Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas said the continuing
reporting on the issue was not helping Lithuania's image.
"There are more important things in Lithuania than spending
two days denying gossip of ABC journalists and the shadow
they cast on Lithuania." He said it was important for
Lithuania to finish its investigation in order to dispel
rumors and know facts.