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Belgian investigation into CIA controversy

Published on 09/12/2005

9 December 2005

BRUSSELS — The national intelligence and security service supervisory commission will investigate claims of secret US prisons in Europe and the use of Belgian airports for CIA flights.

The Senate commission which guides the Committee I — which supervises Belgium’s intelligence services — has unanimously decided to launch the investigation.

Senate chair Anne-Marie Lizin said on Thursday she shares the opinion of several Senators that the federal government needs to give a more detailed answer to the controversy.

The announcement came after a mini-debate was held in the Senate about the matter, newspaper ‘De Tijd’ reported on Friday.

On behalf of the government, Senator Els Van Weert repeated the stance of Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht who said this week US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had given a good explanation about CIA activities abroad.

However, Christian Democrat CD&V Senator Luc Van den Brande said the government’s response to the possibility of secret CIA prison camps in Central and Eastern Europe was too frugal. He said De Gucht had failed to answer several important questions.

Meanwhile, the Socialist SP.A faction in the Lower House of Parliament has requested the government to conduct another investigation into possible CIA flights.

SP.A parliamentary leader Dirk Vandermaelen said his MPs are not inclined to simply accept off-hand the explanations given by Rice during her meetings with NATO and EU ministers in Brussels earlier this week.

Transport Minister Renaat Landuyt said on Tuesday no CIA flights had landed at Belgian airports in the past five years.

And after meeting later in the week with Rice in Brussels, Minister De Gucht said the US foreign minister had clarified certain issues over the CIA affair and that both NATO and EU ministers appeared satisfied with her explanations. 

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news