The European Union said Thursday that it would “seek more information” on allegations that a member country and a would-be member might have been sites of secret American jails for suspected members of Al Qaeda. The European Commission, the organization’s executive arm, stopped short of starting a formal investigation.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the C.I.A. had been holding its “most important Al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe.” The report, attributed to American and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement, did not name the countries.
Human Rights Watch, however, said it had information indicating Romania, scheduled to join the union in 2007, and Poland, which joined last year, had sites for secret prisons.
The timetable for any such detentions was not clear.
The Associated Press cited Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst with Human Rights Watch, which is based in New York, who said the group matched flights with testimony from former detainees held by the United States. He said “the indications are that prisoners in Afghanistan” were being taken “to facilities in Europe and other countries in the world.” He would not say how the organization obtained the flight logs, according to The A.P.
Vanessa Saenen, a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch in Brussels, said Thursday, “The flight records show that the planes landed at Szymany airport, a small airfield in northeastern Poland which is close to a military training site, and also at Mihail Kogalniceanu military airport in southern Romania.”
Both countries denied involvement. The C.I.A. declined to comment.
At the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Frisco Roscam Abbing, an organization spokesman, said the Union needed to confirm the reports before considering further steps. “We have no knowledge of this at this point in time anyhow,” he said.
Romania and Poland are members of the NATO alliance and are among Washington’s staunchest allies in Europe. They both supported the American-led war in Iraq and sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, Romania’s prime minister, insisted on Thursday there were no C.I.A. bases inside the country. “I repeat: we do not have C.I.A. bases in Romania,” he told journalists.
When reporters asked Romanian government officials whether Romania had ever cooperated with the United States over receiving detainees and if the officials could explain the alleged C.I.A. flight records, the chief government spokeswoman, Oana Marinescu, issued a one-sentence statement: “In the portfolio of projects of the Romanian government, there is no activity as the one that you refer to.”
Marius Bercaru, spokesman for the Romanian Intelligence Service, said in a telephone interview and later in a written reply that “the Romanian Intelligence Service does not have any intelligence on such detention centers in Romania.”
Polish officials also categorically denied the existence of any secret detention camps. A senior member of President Aleksander Kwasniewski’s cabinet, Waldemar Dubaniowski, said there was “no information” of such facilities.
Jerzy Szmajdzinski, who was defense minister until last Monday, when a new government took office, said “holding foreign nationals on Polish territory would be illegal.”
In Washington, Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, said Wednesday, “While we have to do what is necessary to defend the country against terrorists and to win the war on terror, the president has been very clear that we’re going to do that in a way that is consistent with our values.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had asked the United States about the report and asked it to allow a representative to visit any prisoners if the facilities existed. “We think this would be a coherent continuation of our current detention work in U.S. places of detention,” said Antonella Notari, the chief spokeswoman.
Judy Dempsey reported from Berlin for this article, and James Kanter from Brussels. New York Times