Confirmed: CIA extraordinary renditions to continue under Panetta

Leon Panetta

Leon Panetta

On January 22, I examined the possibility that Leon Panetta, Barack Obama’s nominee for CIA Director, may favor the controversial practice of extraordinary rendition. The Los Angeles Times has now confirmed that the new US President has authorized the CIA to continue its policy on renditions under Mr. Panetta –a Clinton-era administrator who has publicly come out against the use of torture in interrogations. Extraordinary rendition involves extrajudicial kidnappings of wanted terrorism suspects by CIA or FBI paramilitaries, often abroad, followed by extrajudicial transfers of same suspects to third countries, such as Egypt or Syria, where they are usually tortured. The extracted information is then utilized by US law enforcement and intelligence agencies in their pursuit of the “war on terrorism”. This notorious practice became widespread under the first George W. Bush Administration, but it was first implemented under former US President Bill Clinton. As White House aide to Mr. Clinton at the time, Leon Panetta was reportedly  “a consumer of intelligence at the highest level”. It follows that he must have known about the practice, though he apparently failed to speak out against it. In disclosing President Obama’s decision to allow extraordinary rendition to continue, The Los Angeles Times notes that the new 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”. It also quotes an anonymous “Obama Administration official” as saying that “Obviously you need to preserve some tools [for use against] the bad guys” and that “if done within certain parameters, [extraordinary rendition] is an acceptable practice”. In reporting on The Los Angeles Times‘ revelation, Tom Baldwin, Washington correspondent for The London Times, notes that not only will extraordinary rendition continue to be practiced by the CIA under Leon Panetta, but that it might in fact “play an expanded role” in the so-called “war on terrorism”.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to Confirmed: CIA extraordinary renditions to continue under Panetta

  1. Ryan says:

    Wasn’t this considered a false article? The LA Times published something similiar but it turns out that extraordinary renditions will not continue under Panetta. I may be wrong?

  2. intelNews says:

    As far as we are aware, no denial of the above report has been issued by the Obama Administration. What everyone is waiting for is Panetta’s hearing, which will begin on Thursday. Watch this space. [JF]

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