Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What did Leon Panetta know about 'extraordinary renditions' under Clinton?

The Bush administration has been heavily criticized for signing off on the CIA's controversial "rendition" program, which allows terror suspects to be captured and questioned on foreign soil. But the rendition program was actually launched under President Bill Clinton, according to Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the CIA who resigned from the agency in 2004.

From Breitbart:

Scheuer, who headed the CIA unit that tracked Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from 1996 to 1999, said that he developed and led the "renditions" program, which he said included moving prisoners without due legal process to countries without strict human rights protections.

"In Cairo, people are not treated like they are in Milwaukee," Scheurer said in 2005. "The Clinton administration asked us if we believed that the prisoners were being treated in accordance with local law. And we answered, yes, we're fairly sure."
Thus, the question arises: What did Leon Panetta - former White House chief of staff to Bill Clinton and the man chosen by Barack Obama to lead the CIA - know about the renditions program ? And will the Bush bashers assail Mr. Panetta the same way they inveighed against President Bush? Hmmm?..... - h/t Telegraph UK

Update - From the AP:

Obama promised that his intelligence team - led by Panetta and retired Adm. Dennis Blair, the nominee for national intelligence director — will break with Bush administration practices that he said tarnished U.S. intelligence agencies and American foreign policy...

"I have the utmost respect for Leon Panetta," Obama said Tuesday. "I think that he is one of the finest public servants that we've had... As chief of staff to the president, he is somebody who obviously was fully versed in international affairs crisis management, and had to evaluate intelligence consistently on a day-to-day basis."

Obama said Americans will see "a team that is committed to breaking with some of the past practices and concerns that have, I think, tarnished the image of the agencies, the intelligence agencies, as well as U.S. foreign policy.""

The comment appears to be Obama's signal that he is drawing a line between controversial Bush policies, such as harsh interrogations, extraordinary rendition, secret prisons, and warrantless wiretapping, and the agencies he directed to carry them out...


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