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C.I.A. Involved in Secret Detentions

The C.I.A. revealed Friday that they had been holding Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, a known Al Queda terrorist, for several months in a secret prison near Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The story that ran in the New York Times was written by Mark Mazzetti. The story reported that al-Iraqi had begun his work for the Al Queda terrorist organization in the late 1990’s and had worked his way to a position as one of Osama bin Laden’s chief aids. The story gave a direct feeling of scrutiny with regards to the government holding suspects secretly and reported why the government has been able to do so.

Mr. Iraqi’s case suggests that the C.I.A. may have adopted a new model for handling prisoners held secretly — a practice that Mr. Bush said could resume and that Congress permitted when it passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

The story reported the broader feeling of scrutiny which has surrounded the C.I.A.’s actions in holding al-Iraqi.

Last fall, Mr. Bush declared the agency’s interrogations “one of the most successful intelligence efforts in American history.? But its secret detention of terrorism suspects has been widely criticized by human rights organizations and foreign governments as a violation of international law that relied on interrogation methods verging on torture.

The story went on to detail the complaints of human rights groups further emphasizing the severity that the C.I.A. may have taken in the interrogation of al-Iraqi.

Human rights advocates expressed anger that the United States continued a program of secret detention, and some wondered why the C.I.A. claimed it needed harsh interrogation methods to extract information from detainees when it appeared that Mr. Iraqi had given up information using Pentagon interrogation practices.

The focus on the human rights aspect of the story illustrates the multifaceted nature of the story. I feel like this nature is what makes this story very challenging. This story is responsible for telling the history of the release of al-Iraqi and also reporting the C.I.A. reaction to the announcement. In addition to these the story also has to report the human rights issues presented by secret imprisonment. I feel like this story tried to keep the story interesting while reporting all of the angles but the story inevitably got a little long and lost my interest because of the length.

A second version of the story ran in the San Francisco Chronicle and was written by Josh Meyer of the Los Angeles Times. This story reported a much different aspect of the story which was al-Iraqi had been captured. The story reported that it was the Pentagon who announced the arrest and that al-Iraqi was headed to Iraq when he was detained. The story did report the C.I.A.’s involvement and role in the detainment.

Officials did not disclose where the CIA had held al-Iraqi since he was captured. It wasn't until last September that President Bush first acknowledged the CIA's use of secret prisons around the world. He said all 14 high-value terrorism suspects that the CIA had been holding had been transferred to military custody at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for trials.

This story reported much of the same information regarding how important the information was that al-Iraqi disclosed. The story did report the human rights questions that some had but it was very minimal coverage if that.

Both of these versions were very well written but were very different. I felt like the Mazzetti version bit off a little bit more than it could chew with all of the different aspects portrayed in the story. I felt like there were too many angles present to be interesting. The Meyer version was slightly more focused but even this version bored me. I felt like the paragraphs in both versions were simply too long to be interesting to read. I also found the human rights angle boring because I don’t believe that known terrorists should be treated the same as the everyday American criminal. Overall, I preferred the Meyer version for its focus.