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Cia secretly removes detainees from iraq { March 19 2004 }

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CIA Secretly Removes Detainees From Iraq
CIA Secretly Takes As Many As One Dozen Unidentified Prisoners From Iraq in Last Six Months
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON Oct. 24, 2004 - The CIA has secretly moved as many as a dozen unidentified prisoners out of Iraq in the last six months, a possible violation of international treaties, The Washington Post reported.

The detainees were removed without notification to the International Red Cross, congressional oversight committees, the Defense Department or CIA investigators, the newspaper said in Sunday editions, citing unidentified government officials.

The Justice Department drafted a memo dated March 19, 2004, authorizing the CIA to take prisoners out of Iraq for interrogation, it said.

Iraqis can be taken out of the country for a "brief but not indefinite period," and that "illegal aliens" can be removed permanently under "local immigration law," the Post quoted the memo as saying.

The transfers could violate the Geneva Conventions, which do not allow "individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory."

White House spokesman Sean McCormick said the U.S. policy is to comply with the international treaty, which protects civilians during war and occupation. "The Geneva Conventions are applicable to the conflict in Iraq," he told the Post.

The identities or locations of the detainees have not been disclosed.

The Bush administration did not consider al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan to be "protected persons" under the Geneva Conventions. Many were sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for interrogation.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2004 ABC News Internet Ventures

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