Skip to comments.Obama lets CIA keep controversial renditions tool
Posted on 01/31/2009 3:28:44 PM PST by csvset
WASHINGTON -- The CIA's secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.
But even while dismantling these discredited programs, President Barack Obama left an equally controversial counterterrorism tool intact.
Under executive orders issued by Obama last week, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, or the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the U.S.
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said the rendition program is poised to play an expanded role because it is the main remaining mechanism -- aside from Predator missile strikes -- for taking suspected terrorists off the street.
The rendition program became a source of embarrassment for the CIA, and a target of international scorn, as details emerged in recent years of botched captures, mistaken identities and allegations that prisoners were turned over to countries where they were tortured.
The European Parliament condemned renditions as an "illegal instrument used by the United States." Prisoners swept up in the program have sued the CIA as well as a subsidiary of Boeing Corp., which is accused of working with the agency on dozens of rendition flights.
But the Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration's war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.
The decision underscores the fact that the battle with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is far from over and that even if the U.S. is shutting down the prisons, it is not done taking prisoners.
"Obviously you need to preserve some tools, you still have to go after the bad guys," said an Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity when discussing legal reasoning behind the decision. "The legal advisers working on this looked at rendition. It is controversial in some circles and kicked up a big storm in Europe. But if done within certain parameters, it is an acceptable practice."
One provision in one of Obama's orders appears to preserve the CIA's ability to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects as long as they are not held long-term. The little-noticed provision states that the instructions to close the CIA's secret prison sites "do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis."
Obama's decision to preserve the program did not draw major protests, even among human-rights groups. Leaders of such organizations said that reflects a sense, even among advocates, that the United States and other nations need certain tools to combat terrorism.
"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "What I heard loud and clear from the president's order was that they want to design a system that doesn't result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured."
In his executive order on lawful interrogations, Obama created a task force to re-examine renditions to make sure that they "do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture" or otherwise circumvent human-rights laws and treaties.
What’s up with this “harsh interrogations” crap anyway? Is being “harsh” with a murdering Islamofascist terrorist now against the Geneva/Hague conventions too?
Everything the CIA does should be secret.
Discreditied by whom? The terrorists? The French? Code Pink? When the next attack comes... and with the restrictions upon those who protect us going up every day they will, we'll see if the American people really want to make smores and sing Cum-bye-ya with terrorists or kick their asses.
I agree. If everything they do has to be reported by the national “news media”, then what’s the sense of even having the CIA.
If Obama is closing down Guantanamo, rendition flights of the prisoners can’t be far behind. Those animals are not wanted in the U.S. or Europe.
So where will they end up? China, in Woo’s pig pen? (HBO Deadwood reference)
Or does it just mean that he will probe "Obama's Crimes" alongside the "Bush Crimes"?
That make it official, where’s my Code Pink “ARREST OBAMA” shirt?
After watching BHO in the primaries I discovered that one of his favorite words is “divisive” with the short “i” not the long “i” the other word he loved to use in speeches was
In any case, if I read it correctly, he just gave a one-year extention to both Guantanamo and the supposed secret CIA prisons. Now he’s signed off on renditions.
I want to agree with some others. Everything the CIA does should be secret. It would be secret now, except that CIA was doing everything it could to soil Bush’s nest. It is noteworthy that almost everything that they exposed in an effort to hurt Bush will now continue under Obama.
I’d prefer that Obama have kept going and repudiated renditions.
Both torture and torture by proxies help lose the “war” for us.
“Obama’s decision to preserve the program did not draw major protests, even among human-rights groups. Leaders of such organizations said that reflects a sense, even among advocates, that the United States and other nations need certain tools to combat terrorism.”
LOL, what a bunch of hypocrites, they would’ve skewered Bush.
The upper echelon of the Socialist crowd will cover for Obama occasionally, but something tells me that the Dummies, and moveon’sters will be up in arms lmao.
My guess is the reason the Left isn’t screaming about this is that they probably don’t know about it.
Not crazy about your typography. Hard to read.
I don’t know. Remember Ron Silver back in the Clinton days exclaiming, “ it’s ok, they’re our planes now”. I figure the left will now say, “it’s ok, it’s our CIA now”.
hypocrits... I need a new keyboard. Sometimes it types the key I hit and sometimes it leaves it blank or gets carried away and types multiples of that key.
A new keyboard is definitely in my near future. lol
A rendition of hope.
Also remember that rendition was first practiced in Slick Willie’s administration.
"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.
What incredible hypocrites. Also no mention that rendition was begun under Clinton while Leon Panetta looked on.
I'm surprised Benjamin wasn't appointed to a cabinet post..