US secretary of state tight-lipped on secret European prison claims

The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, has defended US treatment of terror suspects and refused to either confirm or deny the existence of CIA-run secret prisons in eastern Europe.

Ms Rice said European countries should trust the US because information gathered by the &to=' target=_blank>CIA had "prevented terrorist attacks in Europe ... and other countries".

She added that the US would use "every lawful weapon to defeat these terrorists".

Reading out a statement at Andrews air force base in Maryland before leaving on a trip to Europe, Ms Rice said: "We cannot discuss information that would compromise the success of intelligence, law enforcement, and military operations. We expect other nations share this view," reports Guardian Unlimited.

Rice said America does not practice torture or knowingly transport any detainee to a place "where he or she will be tortured."

That declaration was welcomed by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. He said, "All of us must work together - within the rule of law - to use every tool at out disposal to deal with the threat of terrorism."

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