El-Masri travelled from his home in Ulm to go on vacation in Skopje at the end of 2003. He was detained by Macedonian border officials on December 31, 2003, because his name was identical (except for variations in English spelling) to that of Khalid al-Masri, an alleged mentor to the al Qaeda Hamburg cell who has not been apprehended, and because of suspicion that his German passport was a forgery. He was held in a motel in Macedonia for over three weeks and questioned about his activities, his associates and the mosque he attended in Ulm.
The Macedonian authorities also contacted the local CIA station, which contacted the agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia. A December 4, 2005, article in the Washington Post said that an argument arose within the CIA over whether they should remove him from Macedonia in an extraordinary rendition. The decision to do so was made by the head of the al Qaeda division of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center on the basis of a hunch he was involved in terrorism. The Macedonians released him on January 23, 2004 and American security officials, described in an MSNBC article as members of a "black snatch team", came to Macedonia, and detained him. They beat him, stripped him naked, drugged him, and gave him an enema. He was then dressed in a diaper and a jumpsuit, and flown on a Boeing 737 N313P to Baghdad, then immediately to "the salt pit", a covert CIA interrogation centre in Afghanistan which contained prisoners from Pakistan, Tanzania, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
While held in Afghanistan, El-Masri wrote in the Los Angeles Times that he was beaten and repeatedly interrogated. He has also claimed that he was raped. He was kept in a bare, squalid cell, given only meager rations to eat and putrid water to drink. In February, CIA officers in Kabul began to suspect his passport was genuine. The passport was sent to the CIA headquarters in Langley where in March the CIA's Office of Technical Services concluded it was indeed genuine. Discussion over what to do with El-Masri included secretly transporting him back to Macedonia, without informing German authorities, dumping him, and denying any claims he made. In the end they did inform the German government, without apologizing, and were able to persuade the Germans to remain silent.
In March 2004 El-Masri took part in a hunger strike, demanding that his captors afford him due process or watch him die. After 27 days without eating, he forced a meeting with the prison director and a CIA officer known as "The Boss". They conceded he should not be imprisoned but refused to release him. El-Masri continued his hunger strike for 10 more days until he was force-fed and given medical attention. He had lost more than 60 pounds since his abduction in Macedonia.
In April 2004, CIA Director George Tenet learned that El-Masri was being wrongfully detained. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice learned of his detention shortly thereafter in early May and ordered his release. El-Masri was released on May 28 following a second order from Dr. Rice. American authorities met with him and agreed to release him if he agreed never to tell the story of his ordeal to anyone. They flew him out of Afghanistan and released him at night on a desolate road in Albania, without apology, or funds to return home. At the time he believed his release was a ruse, and he would be executed. He was eventually intercepted by Albanian guards, who believed him to be a terrorist due to his haggard and unkempt appearance. He was subsequently reunited with his wife who had returned to her family in Lebanon, with their children, because she thought her husband had abandoned them. Using isotope analysis, scientists at the Bavarian archive for geology in Munich analyzed his hair and verified that he was malnourished during his disappearance.
its gonna be even less easily digested than a bigmac, crown jewel of gringo cuisine!