While you were headed home for Thanksgiving, the Associated Press broke the news that the CIA had a program at Guantanamo Bay to turn al Qaeda terrorists into double agents. Citing “nearly a dozen current and former U.S. officials,” the AP reported:
In the early years after Sept. 11, 2001, the CIA turned some Guantanamo Bay prisoners into double agents, sending them home to help the United States kill terrorists, current and former U.S. officials said.
The CIA promised the prisoners freedom, safety for their families and millions of dollars from the agency’s secret accounts…. The program was carried out in a secret facility: eight small cottages a few hundred yards from the administrative offices of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The cottages, hidden behind a ridge covered in thick scrub and cactus, were designed to feel more like hotel rooms than prison cells, and some CIA officials jokingly referred to them collectively as the Marriott.
The program and the handful of men who passed through had various official CIA code names. But those who were aware of the cluster of cottages knew it best by its sobriquet: Penny Lane….
Current and former officials said dozens of prisoners were evaluated, but only a handful, from a variety of countries, were turned into spies who signed agreements to work for the CIA.
So how damaging is this latest ObamaLeak? The Post notes that “infiltrating al-Qaeda has been one of the CIA’s most sought-after but difficult goals” and that “in one case, a former official recalled, al-Qaeda came close to discovering a double agent in its midst.”
Now they have all been effectively burned. Al-Qaeda may have suspected we had such a program at Guantanamo, but now that it has been confirmed by a dozen top U.S. officials they know for certain.
The only upside may be that al Qaeda will treat any terrorist released from GTMO with increased suspicion, which could make them question the loyalty of those who have not turned as well.