Newly released OLC memo inadvertently reveals the name of a ‘ghost detainee.’

In January, 2004, then-President Bush announced to the press that the U.S. had just captured a man named Hassan Ghul in Iraq, who Bush said “reported directly to Khalid Sheik Mohammad.” The Bush administration told the 9/11 Commission that Ghul was in “U.S. custody,” but his whereabouts were never revealed and the CIA “never acknowledged holding him.” ProPublica reports, however, that one of the recently released OLC memos reveals that Ghul was held and abused by the CIA:

Since then, he has been considered a missing, or ghost detainee. But in the heavily redacted OLC memo dated May 30, 2005, government censors appeared to have missed a single reference to his name and confinement during a lengthy description of the interrogation techniques used against him. The reference can be found at the bottom of Page 7 in the memo, where Ghul’s surname is spelled “Gul.”

According to the memo, Ghul was one of 28 CIA detainees at the time who had been subjected to the agency’s “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Specifically, the memo says he was subjected to “facial hold,” “facial slap,” “stress positions,” “sleep deprivation,” a technique called “walling,” in which a detainee’s shoulders are repeatedly smashed against a wall, and the “attention grasp,” in which the detainee is placed in a choke-hold and slapped.

So it appears we now have evidence Ghul was in a CIA prison. Where he is today is still a mystery.


The CIA declined to comment on Ghul to ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer.