NPR logo In Reversal, U.S. Will Tell Red Cross Of Detainees


In Reversal, U.S. Will Tell Red Cross Of Detainees

The U.S. military has quietly changed a key policy and is now notifying the International Committee of the Red Cross of the identities of militants secretly held in camps in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. special operations forces operate two camps where they detain terrorism suspects — one in Balad, Iraq, and another in Bagram, Afghanistan. Unlike the secret CIA prisons ordered closed by President Obama in January, these "temporary screening sites," as they are called, continue to operate.

But as of earlier this month, in a reversal of previous Pentagon policy, the Red Cross must now be promptly told the identities of those being secretly held in these camps.

A military official tells NPR that Gen. David Petraeus instituted the change in policy. The change, which was first reported by The New York Times, begins to make the military's detention program more transparent and allows the Red Cross to better track those taken into custody.

On Monday, the CIA is expected to give new details about abuses that took place in the agency's secret prisons as it releases a less-redacted version of a highly critical 2004 inspector general report on the agency's interrogation program.