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CIA investigating deaths of prisoners

U.S. officials: Iraqi who died during questioning had poor health

From David Ensor
CNN Washington Bureau

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An Iraqi prisoner who died in November while under interrogation by a CIA officer and contract translator arrived at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison with broken ribs and breathing difficulties after his arrest by Navy SEALs, U.S. officials said Thursday.

These officials contradicted unnamed Pentagon sources, who said Wednesday that the man had been delivered to the prison outside Baghdad in "good health."

The case is among three detainee deaths under investigation by the CIA's inspector general, who testified Wednesday with CIA Director George Tenet behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee, members of the panel staff said.

ABC News has identified the man as Manadel al-Jamadi, but U.S. officials declined to confirm his name.

A picture of a man's body, encased in ice, has been shown publicly. It may or may not be of the man in question, an official said.

In another case, an independent contractor for the CIA could face assault charges in the interrogation of a man in Afghanistan who died during questioning, sources said. One source said the case is under investigation as a possible murder case.

Most independent contractors conducting interrogations for the CIA are former agency employees. Officials declined to say whether the contractor in the Afghan case previously worked for the CIA.

A third case under investigation involves an Iraqi major-general who was arrested in western Iraq and died several days after CIA personnel interrogated him. Sources said they do not expect any agency involvement in the death to be found.

U.S. intelligence officials also confirmed reports a handful of Iraqi prisoners were kept off prisoner rolls for a period of time -- a violation of Army and CIA regulations.

An official said personnel in Iraq have been told to make sure this practice does not happen again. The detainees were known as "ghost prisoners," and there are reports, including one in Thursday's New York Times, that prisoners were moved around to hide them from visiting delegations from the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent.

An intelligence official said such moves were done "in an attempt to keep news of their capture from their colleagues" in hopes of generating information to save lives.

The official said the practice was not only a violation of procedures but also was unnecessary since the Geneva Conventions permit prisoners' names to be kept secret for a period of time.


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