[World map]

World map by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL

Adam Goldman significantly fleshes out the story of what happened to Hassan Ghul after he was picked up in Iraq in 2004. It appears that Ghul may have been freed by the Pakistanis sometime after January 2007 because of his ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has close ties to the ISI.

The whole article is worthwhile for its depiction of Pakistan’s protection of Ghul (as is this story which describes the arrest of a bunch of the Pakistanis who helped us find Osama bin Laden).

But I wanted to call attention to a weird detail in Goldman’s story.

In a joint operation with the Kurds, Ghul was nabbed in northern Iraq in January 2004, former CIA officials said. Pakistan was furious when it learned the CIA had Ghul and pressed the U.S. to return him.Instead, Ghul was taken to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan but was later removed over questions about whether the transfer was legal, former CIA officials said. Ghul then was taken to a CIA “black site” — a secret prison — in Eastern Europe and provided information about bin Laden’s most trusted courier before he was exposed to harsh interrogation techniques. Ghul’s information later allowed the CIA to realize that finding the courier probably would lead to bin Laden.

This seems to confirm that the 2004 discussions on the legality of removing a detainee from Iraq pertained, in part, to Ghul (it also seems to confirm that the detainee tortured in August 2004 was not Ghul, but another Ghul).

What does it mean, though, that in response to concerns about the legality of removing him from Iraq, we then moved him from Afghanistan (another country we arguably occupied) to one of our “black sites”?

And given that he was reportedly cooperating from early after his capture, was he moved to the black site solely to keep him hidden further away?