The Pentagon and Romanian authorities deny the base ever hosted so-called “black sites”:
But the compound — heavily used by American forces to transport troops and equipment to Afghanistan and Iraq and scheduled to be handed over to the U.S. military early next year — is under increasing scrutiny.
Last month, Swiss lawmaker Dick Marty — leading an investigation by the Council of Europe, the continent’s top human rights watchdog — said he was trying to acquire past satellite images of the base as well as Poland’s Szczytno-Szymany airport. Both airfields, Human Rights Watch has alleged, were likely sites for clandestine CIA prisons.
Ioan Mircea Pascu, Romania’s defense minister in 2001-2004, said that parts of Mihail Kogalniceanu were off-limits to Romanian authorities, and the country’s main intelligence agency said it has no jurisdiction there.
Pascu said he couldn’t determine whether prisoners were ever held at the installation, but he conceded that planes flying captives to the prison on the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, might have made stopovers in Romania.
Romanian President Traian Basescu said U.S. officials never asked his nation to host a so-called “black site” prison. The Defense Ministry said it was unaware of any such site, and Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu said there was “nothing in our dossier” or in documents from the previous government ousted last year.
The U.S. Defense Department “did not and does not detain enemy combatants in Romania,” a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter, said.
Meanwhile, there were questions in the European Parliament about CIA flights that landed in Malta in 2003.