Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The Obama administration plans to continue to use extraordinary renditions but pledges to monitor them closely to ensure that the rendered aren't tortured, reportsthe NYT.
But if the administration has its way, we'll never know if rendered detainees are tortured, or whether they're rendered at all. That's because the administration has adopted the Bush administration position in the extraordinary rendition cases that the state secrets privilege prevents the courts from hearing claims by formerly rendered plaintiffs. Under the administrations' view, the courts must dismiss these cases on the complaints, because the government can't even acknowledge the existence (or not) of the program. The Obama administration reiterated this position in the Ninth Circuit case Mohammed v. Jeppesen Dataplan and challenged the panel ruling rejecting its claim. That challenge is now pending. (More here.)
The statement by administration officials that the Obama administration will continue the program seems to fly in the face of its assertions before the Ninth Circuit that the program is so secret that it cannot even answer a complaint.
The statement came the same day that AG Eric Holder appointed a prosecutor to examine CIA abuses of detainees, as described in the just released 2004 CIA Inspector General's report. Holder is apparently interested in pursuing only those who acted outside of the OLC's legal advice (which itself gave a broad license to interrogators).