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article imageOp-Ed: Some Gitmo terrorists trained as double agents and paid by CIA

By Ken Hanly     Nov 27, 2013 in World
Not far from the administrative offices at Guanatanamo Bay there are still eight small cottages long abandoned. They were the site of a secret CIA operation in which CIA officers turned terrorists into spies and sent them home.
This was a risky gamble. Of course the American public was never informed about the program. Even now dozens of Guantanamo inmates cleared for release are not allowed to return to Yemen for fear that they might rejoin Al Qaeda. The CIA recruits were known to have relations to Al Qaeda which is why they were chosen for the job!
Some of the double agents might very well return to help their comrades, renege on the deal, and start killing Americans or those who were allies. The CIA considered this an acceptable risk. After all, no one responsible for the plan even if it backfired would likely be held responsible. Only the CIA would know if it worked anyway.
Those aware of the program called the cottage cluster Penny Lane after a Beatles song. The prison itself was known as Strawberry Fields. Current and former US officials, anonymously of course, said that some of the men who worked as double agents helped the CIA find and target many top al-Qaida operatives but others stopped providing information and just disappeared. Penny Lane opened for business in early 2003 at a time when many detainees had arrived at Guantanamo so that there were plenty of prisoners to choose from.
There were all sorts of enticements for those selected including the cottages that had private kitchens, showers, and televisions and even a small patio. There was a real bed with a mattress as well. Even pornography on demand for some. Some CIA officials called the cottages the Marriott. The CIA promised the prisoners not only freedom, and safety for their families but recruits collectively were paid millions of dollars from CIA secret accounts.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who serves on the Armed Services and Homeland Security oversight committees, said that she was already concerned about the number of Guantanamo inmates who were released by both the Bush and Obama administration who returned to terrorism: "So, when I juxtapose that to the CIA actually thinking that they can convert these people, I think it was very ill-conceived program for them to think that. These are some very hard-core individuals and many whom have been released by both administrations have gotten back in to fight us and our allies, unfortunately."
The program was still operating when Obama took office. He ordered a review of those who were working as double agents since they were providing information used in Predator drone strikes according to one official. Ironically while those in Guantanamo who had no provable connection to terrorism were left in limbo to rot, those with active ties to Al Qaeda had a good chance of getting a job with the CIA and leaving prison.
David Remes, a US lawyer representing about a dozen Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo said: "I do see the irony on the surface of letting some really very bad guys go.The men we were sending back as agents were thought to be able to provide value to us". So the means justifies the end even if it means returning some to pursue terrorism and others remain imprisoned with no justification whatsoever. The program eventually ended in 2006 as there were less and less new inmates to recruit as double agents.
Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay prison if elected president. It is still open. Considerable funds are being spent on renovations.
In this photo  reviewed by the U.S. military  a Guantanamo guard stands inside a doorway at Camp 6 d...
In this photo, reviewed by the U.S. military, a Guantanamo guard stands inside a doorway at Camp 6 detention facility at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba
With approval by Reuters / Brennan Linsley
In this photo  reviewed by the U.S. military  a Guantanamo guard stands inside a doorway at Camp 6 d...
In this photo, reviewed by the U.S. military, a Guantanamo guard stands inside a doorway at Camp 6 detention facility at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba
With approval by Reuters / Brennan Linsley
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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