A former US State Department official has said that the Central Intelligence Agency used the British territory of Diego Garcia for interrogating and torturing terror suspects.
In an interview with Vice News, Lawrence Wilkerson, who was Colin Powell’s chief of staff, said the island was used as a “transit location” for the agency to carry out interrogations and other “nefarious activities.”
“What I heard was more along the lines of using it as a transit location when perhaps other places were full or other places were deemed too dangerous or insecure, or unavailable at the moment,” Wilkerson said.
“So you might have a case where you simply go in and use a facility at Diego Garcia for a month or two weeks or whatever and you do your nefarious activities there,” he added.
Wilkerson also noted that he was not aware of the CIA’s activities on Diego Garcia when he was in office.
Located in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia has been a British military outpost since 1966.
Wilkerson argued that it was difficult to think that the UK government did not know about the CIA’s interrogation program.
The UK government refused to comment on the new allegation, but it announced earlier that only two rendition flights stopped over at Diego Garcia to refuel in 2002.
In 2008, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations’ former special rapporteur on torture, said he was told that terror suspects were held on the island.
Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star American general, also said Diego Garcia held prisoners.