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CIA, White House Defend Transfers of Terror Suspects

The CIA and the White House yesterday defended the practice of secretly transferring suspected terrorists to other countries, including some with poor human rights records, and reiterated that proper safeguards exist to ensure detainees are not tortured. White House spokesman Scott McClellan would not answer repeated questions about whether President Bush was aware of — or believed or discounted — assertions made recently by freed detainees that they were tortured by other governments after they were transferred abroad by the CIA. But he said the United States has “an obligation not to render people to countries if we believe they’re going to be tortured.” It is illegal under U.S. and international law to send someone to a country where torture is likely. To abide by the law, the CIA obtains a verbal assurance of humane treatment from the intelligence service of another country before it transfers suspected terrorists, a practice called rendition. Many intelligence and counterterrorism experts, however, say such assurances are ineffective and virtually impossible to monitor. Full Story

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