WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Wednesday denied it is hiding any imprisoned terrorism suspects from the International Committee of the Red Cross. A Defense Department spokesman would not comment on whether other U.S. agencies might be doing so.
“I can say that ICRC has access to all detainee operations under our control,” said Larry Di Rita, chief spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. “And beyond that, I’m just not prepared to discuss it.”
The CIA has declined comment on whether it may be holding terrorism suspects at foreign locations.
On Tuesday, Antonella Notari, spokeswoman for the Switzerland-based organization, said terrorism suspects reported by the FBI as captured have never turned up in detention centers known to the Red Cross, and the United States has failed to reply to Red Cross demands for a list of all detainees.
The Pentagon has publicly acknowledged holding terrorism suspects in Afghanistan, Iraq and at the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Red Cross has made periodic visits to those facilities.
Asked about occasional speculation that some detainees may be held secretly by U.S. authorities at a military based on the British island of Diego Garcia, Di Rita said, “I simply don’t know.”