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Romania's secret CIA prison. For years, in northern Bucharest, in a busy residential neighbourhood minutes from the heart of the capital city, the CIA used a government building - codenamed "Bright Light" - as a makeshift prison for its detainees. The building is used as the National Registry Office for Classified Information, which is also known as ORNISS. Classified information from Nato and the European Union is stored there, where it held al-Qa'ida operatives Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, and others in a basement prison before they were ultimately transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006. The Romanian prison was part of a network of so-called black sites that the CIA operated and controlled overseas in Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. The CIA prison opened for business in the autumn of 2003, after the CIA decided to empty the black site in Poland. The basement consisted of six prefabricated cells, each with a clock and arrow pointing to Mecca. The cells were on springs, keeping them slightly off balance and causing disorientation. The detainees endured sleep deprivation and were doused with water, slapped or forced to stand in painful positions. Because the building was a government installation, it provided excellent cover. People wouldn't be inclined to snoop in post-communist Romania, with its extensive security apparatus known for spying on the country's own citizens. "We know of the criticism, but we have no knowledge of this subject," Romanian President Basescu said in a September interview with AP. During the Council of Europe's investigation, Romania's foreign affairs minister assured investigators in a written report that, "No public official or other person acting in an official capacity has been involved in the unacknowledged deprivation of any individual, or transport of any individual while so deprived of their liberty.' That report also described several other government investigations into reports of a secret CIA prison in Romania and said: "No such activities took place on Romanian territory.' The CIA shipped in Halal food to the site from Frankfurt, Germany, the agency's European centre for operations. The CIA officers working at the secret prison served 90-day tours, slept on the compound and ate their meals there, too. Officers were prevented from the leaving the base. One former officer complained that the CIA spent most of its time baby-sitting detainees like Binalshibh and Mohammed whose intelligence value diminished as the years passed. Among the prisoners was Attash, who has been implicated in the bombing of the USS Cole, Binalshibh, Nashiri and Libi, moved to Romania. A deceptive al-Libi, who was taken to the prison in June 2005, provided information that would later help the CIA identify bin Laden's trusted courier, a man who unwittingly led them the CIA to bin Laden himself. The Romanian and Lithuanian sites were eventually closed in the first half of 2006 before CIA Director Goss left the job. Some of the detainees were taken to Kabul, where the CIA could legally hold them before they were sent to Guantanamo. Others were sent back to their native countries. (Source: TheIndependent)