[JURIST] President Bush's recent acknowledgement of secret CIA prisons for important terror detainees [JURIST report] was motivated by the personal urgings of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to release all British prisoners, and from pleas to close the sites from other US allies, along with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who suggested to Bush that the secret prison regime could mar his legacy, according to a Friday Washington Post report. The Post, citing interviews with numerous White House officials, reported that the issue was a source of conflict between Rice, who disliked the program, and other White House officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The report also said the Supreme Court decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [text; JURIST report], where the court applied the Geneva Conventions to US detainees held at home and abroad, was a large factor in the demise of the CIA secret prison program.
On Wednesday, President Bush said that the US Central Intelligence Agency [official website] has operated secret prisons outside the US where high-value terror suspects [DNI backgrounder, PDF] were detained, and said that 14 of those suspects [DNI profiles, PDF] have now been transferred to the Defense Department's military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] where they will face trial. The suspects transferred to Guantanamo include alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile] as well as key al Qaeda members suspected of designing the bombings of the USS Cole and US embassies in Africa. On Thursday, human rights groups called for more information [JURIST report] on the secret detention facilities, and EU lawmakers urged European countries which housed the prisons to step forward with any information they may have. A European Parliament investigation into the allegations [JURIST report] has accused Poland and Romania of being involved [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.