CIA Program To Combat Terrorism
Senior Lecturer Allen Weiner talks to KCBS radio about the rendition program run by the CIA in relation to the convictions of two dozen Americans charged with kidnapping in Italy:
It's hard to tell whether it tells us something very new or something actually very old. It seems a dramatic case, but the basic idea that foreign intelligence operatives can't engage in criminal activities - abductions or assassinations - and that they can be prosecuted in the country where they engage in those acts, if they are caught, is not a new phenomenon...If this was a hostile unauthorized act by US intelligence operatives in Italy, well, it's reaffirming a long standing tradition. If, as I suspect, we really got a wink and a nod from the Italian intelligence authorities to go ahead and do this, then it's a more significant change and it says that courts in countries that have the rule of law are going to start exercising control over these kinds of operations.
I think that the Obama administration has basically said that we're not going to use extraordinary rendition, and we're certainly not going to send anybody to a country for the purpose of engaging in the kinds of interrogation that we couldn't engage in the United States, which appears to be what was motivating this process. That said, the traditional rendition program, of apprehending somebody in one country and sending them to a third country where it might be easier to prosecute them than it would be in the United States because of the particular idiosyncrasies of American law, is actually not a bad program. I think that one of the sad legacies of the Bush administration is that an effective program which was used to deal with legal prosecution of terrorists has been tainted by the association of rendition with torture. And of course those things don't have to go together.