Polish premier announces investigation into alleged CIA jails

Poland's prime minister ordered an investigation Saturday into whether the CIA ran secret jails for terrorist suspects here, saying the issue must be cleared up before it becomes "dangerous" for his country.

Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz made the announcement a day after a military analyst for a prominent rights group insisted Poland was a central &to=http://english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/368/16487_CIA.html' target=_blank>CIA detention center.

Poland's army chief on Saturday denied the allegations, while Washington maintained its policy of not confirming the existence of any prisons.

"I'm not going to get into the right of a sovereign country to conduct an investigation on its own territory," said Frederick Jones, spokesman for the White House's National Security Council. "That's their right."

Marcinkiewicz said he was "commissioning a detailed check in all places possible, to precisely check if there is any proof that such an event took place in our country."

"It is necessary to finally close the issue because it could be dangerous to Poland," he said in comments aired by Poland's TVN24.

Marcinkiewicz didn't elaborate, and his spokesman, Konrad Ciesiolkiewicz, said he had no details of how the government would look into the allegations or how long it would take.

More than a half-dozen investigations are under way into whether European countries may have hosted secret U.S.-run prisons in which prisoners were tortured, and whether European airports and airspace were used for alleged CIA flights transporting prisoners to countries where torture is practiced.

Polish officials have consistently denied the existence of such jails.

"Polish authorities have unambiguously responded to this question," Gen. Czeslaw Piatas, the Polish army's chief of staff, said Saturday in Budapest after meeting with central European counterparts.

"I would like to once again recall what President Aleksander Kwasniewski has said, that there has not been that kind of captivity in Poland," Piatas said.

However, Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst for the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in remarks published Friday that Poland was the chief CIA detention site in Europe, part of a system of clandestine prisons for interrogating al-Qaida suspects.

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