By Brian Beutler
Speaking of confirmation hearings, Leon Panetta had one today.
Mr Panetta was also asked whether the agency would continue the practice of sending detainees to foreign countries for the purpose of torture.”No, we will not,” Mr Panetta said. “Because under the executive order issued by the President, that kind of extraordinary rendition, where we send someone for the purpose of torture or actions by another country that violate our human values, that has been forbidden.”
Mr Panetta said some kinds of renditions of prisoners were “appropriate”, citing as an example the rendition to France of Carlos the Jackal to stand trial on terrorism charges. And he said the United States had the right to temporarily hold and debrief “high value” terrorist suspects captured overseas.
But Mr Panetta said: “I do not believe we ought to use renditions for the purpose of sending people to black sites, and not providing the kind of oversight I believe is necessary”.
Asked whether he was saying the United States had sent prisoners to foreign countries to be tortured, Mr Panetta said he had not been officially briefed on what actually had happened during the renditions over the past eight years.
“My understanding is that there were black sites,” he said. “But obviously there were indications that those countries…did not meet the standards of human values that we would extend to prisoners.”