Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 9, 2009


Jeff Stein, CQ Spy Talk - The former head of the CIA unit charged with liquidating Osama Bin Laden said that national security officials in the Clinton administration "had no qualms" about transferring al Qaeda suspects to countries with reputations for torture.

Michael A. Scheuer, who worked on finding Bin Laden from 1996 to his retirement in 2004, made the allegation during an April 17, 2007 House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the treatment of terrorism suspects picked up by the CIA. . .

"There were no qualms at all about sending people to Cairo," he said, adding that there was a "kind of joking up our sleeves about what would happen to those people in Cairo in Egyptian prisons, sir.".

Scheuer's testimony appears to contradict statements made about U.S. "rendition" policies during hearings on the Obama administration's pick to lead the CIA, Leon. E. Panetta. As President Bill Clinton's budget director and later chief of staff, Panetta is said to have regularly participated in White House discussions of CIA operations.

Panetta backed away from earlier remarks that he suspected the United States had transferred terror suspects to other countries so that they could be tortured. . .

As for "diplomatic assurances from countries like Syria that they won't torture someone," Scheuer said, "It isn't ... as Mr. Roosevelt's Vice President said at one time, worth a bucket of warm spit, sir."

"If you accepted an assurance from any of the Arab tyrannies who are our allies that they weren't going to torture someone, I have got a bridge for you to buy, sir," the former CIA official said in response to a question from the panel.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only their forked tongues would fall off when they lie lie lie!

February 10, 2009 8:19 AM  

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