Say, can you say "consciousness of guilt"?
BERLIN (Reuters) - German politicians expressed surprise on Thursday at reported U.S. comments that Washington had apologized and paid money to a German citizen it abducted to Afghanistan and held for months as a terrorist suspect.
The case of Khaled el-Masri, who is suing the Central Intelligence Agency for wrongful imprisonment and torture, took a new twist with comments from Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in parliament on Wednesday.
Schaeuble shed new light on a conversation on May 31, 2004, between his predecessor Otto Schily and then-U.S. ambassador Daniel Coats, at which Coats first told the German government that one of its citizens had been detained.
Coats had said that Masri "had received an apology, agreed to keep quiet and been paid a sum of money", Schaeuble said."
So Masri reneged on the deal to keep his own torture secret? Naughty naughty torturee.
Schaueble "said the U.S. envoy had not gone into detail about what happened to Masri. He had mentioned 'neither the word Afghanistan, nor the length of time he had been held by the American side.'
Masri's lawyer told German media his client had not received money from the Americans, and dismissed the account as an attempt to smear him.
The case has caused a political storm in Germany, with the government under pressure to demand a full explanation from Washington and clarify when German officials were told of the case and what they did about it.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told parliament on Wednesday that the government found out about the Masri case only after his release.
Hans-Christian Stroebele, deputy leader of the opposition Greens, said the question of whether the United States had paid Masri was a significant new element.
"That is an additional admission. You don't pay money unless you're conscious of making a serious mistake," he told Reuters. . . "