political analyst Radoslaw Markowski of the Polish Academy of Sciences said even if the probe cleared Poland of wrongdoing, the country's reputation could suffer.Update from AP -
"If the investigation finds nothing, I'm not sure we'll be able to get that across through all the media noise," he said.
Poland is one of Washington's leading allies in Europe, where it angered European Union heavyweights Germany and France by sending troops to join the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Markowski said any revelations of secret prisons could make it harder for Poland to keep troops in Iraq after the tentative January pullout date.
"We've been trying to present our presence in Iraq as purely peacekeeping -- that we're just there to help kids get to school, and find water for the locals, not carrying guns. This would fall apart if the (secret prisons) are proven," he said.
But he and other analysts saw few other ways for Marcinkiewicz to respond to the media storm and to the possibility of growing concern among ordinary Poles.
"After the communist experience, Polish public opinion is extremely sensitive to any attempts at behind-the-scenes dealings that are kept from the public," said Bogdan Mach, sociologist at the private Collegium Civitas.
Poland to Probe Secret CIA Prisons
The Associated Press, Saturday, December 10, 2005
WARSAW, Poland - Poland's prime minister said Saturday he has ordered an investigation into whether the CIA ran secret prisons for terror suspects in the country - an allegation the government repeatedly has denied.
Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said a "detailed" probe would be conducted to "check if there is any proof that such an event took place in our country. It is necessary to finally close the issue because it could be dangerous to Poland."
Marcinkiewicz's spokesman, Konrad Ciesiolkiewicz, said he did not know who would carry out the investigation.