World

Romania: ex-president says he allowed CIA site but would have refused had he known its purpose

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, file picture Romanian military staff stand at the end of a corridor on the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase, near the Black Sea port of Constanta, a Soviet-era facility which became a key focus of a European investigation into allegations that the CIA operated secret prisons, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Bucharest, Romania. Former Romanian president Ion Iliescu has acknowledged approving the CIA’s request for a site in Romania, but said he would have refused had he known its destination, one of the CIA “black sites” _ prisons outside the U.S. where suspected terrorists were held and subjected to harsh interrogation.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, file picture Romanian military staff stand at the end of a corridor on the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase, near the Black Sea port of Constanta, a Soviet-era facility which became a key focus of a European investigation into allegations that the CIA operated secret prisons, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Bucharest, Romania. Former Romanian president Ion Iliescu has acknowledged approving the CIA’s request for a site in Romania, but said he would have refused had he known its destination, one of the CIA “black sites” _ prisons outside the U.S. where suspected terrorists were held and subjected to harsh interrogation.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 2011, file picture the National Registry Office for Classified Information, also known as ORNISS,  where between 2003 and 2006, the CIA operated a secret prison from the building's basement, bringing in high-value terror suspects for interrogation and detention, sits in a busy residential neighborhood minutes from the center of Romania’s capital city Bucharest. Former Romanian president Ion Iliescu has acknowledged approving the CIA’s request for a site in Romania, but said he would have refused had he known its destination, one of the CIA “black sites” _ prisons outside the U.S. where suspected terrorists were held and subjected to harsh interrogation.(AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 2011, file picture the National Registry Office for Classified Information, also known as ORNISS, where between 2003 and 2006, the CIA operated a secret prison from the building's basement, bringing in high-value terror suspects for interrogation and detention, sits in a busy residential neighborhood minutes from the center of Romania’s capital city Bucharest. Former Romanian president Ion Iliescu has acknowledged approving the CIA’s request for a site in Romania, but said he would have refused had he known its destination, one of the CIA “black sites” _ prisons outside the U.S. where suspected terrorists were held and subjected to harsh interrogation.(AP Photo/File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE In this Dec. 2011, file picture the National Registry Office for Classified Information, behind railway tracks , also known as ORNISS,  where between 2003 and 2006, the CIA operated a secret prison from the building's basement, bringing in high-value terror suspects for interrogation and detention, sits in a busy residential neighborhood minutes from the center of Romania’s capital city Bucharest. Former Romanian president Ion Iliescu has acknowledged approving the CIA’s request for a site in Romania, but said he would have refused had he known its destination, one of the CIA “black sites” _ prisons outside the U.S. where suspected terrorists were held and subjected to harsh interrogation.(AP Photo/ File)

    FILE In this Dec. 2011, file picture the National Registry Office for Classified Information, behind railway tracks , also known as ORNISS, where between 2003 and 2006, the CIA operated a secret prison from the building's basement, bringing in high-value terror suspects for interrogation and detention, sits in a busy residential neighborhood minutes from the center of Romania’s capital city Bucharest. Former Romanian president Ion Iliescu has acknowledged approving the CIA’s request for a site in Romania, but said he would have refused had he known its destination, one of the CIA “black sites” _ prisons outside the U.S. where suspected terrorists were held and subjected to harsh interrogation.(AP Photo/ File)  (The Associated Press)

A former Romanian president has acknowledged approving the CIA's request for a site in Romania, but said he would have refused had he known how it would be used.

Ion Iliescu, president from 2000 to 2004, suggested he believed Romania had hosted CIA "black sites" — prisons outside the U.S. where suspected terrorists were held and subjected to harsh interrogation.

Romanian authorities had long denied reports they hosted a CIA secret prison, but Iliescu said last week he approved a request for a site in 2002-2003.

He wrote on this blog Monday that "I would surely have taken another decision" if he had known what the CIA was doing.

He added: "We assumed commitments.....in Romania's interests. For all of these there is a cost."