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DOUGLAS JEHL and DAVID JOHNSTON, New York Times, 3/6/05

WASHINGTON, March 5 - The Bush administration's secret program to transfer
suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation has been
carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency under broad authority that
has allowed it to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or
the State or Justice Departments, according to current and former
government officials.

The unusually expansive authority for the C.I.A. to operate independently
was provided by the White House under a still-classified directive signed
by President Bush within days of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks at the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon, the officials said.

The process, known as rendition, has been central in the government's
efforts to disrupt terrorism, but has been bitterly criticized by human
rights groups on grounds that the practice has violated the Bush
administration's public pledge to provide safeguards against torture.

In providing a detailed description of the program, a senior United States
official said that it had been aimed only at those suspected of knowing
about terrorist operations, and emphasized that the C.I.A. had gone to
great lengths to ensure that they were detained under humane conditions and
not tortured.

The official would not discuss any legal directive under which the agency
operated, but said that the "C.I.A. has existing authorities to lawfully
conduct these operations."

The official declined to be named but agreed to discuss the program to
rebut the assertions that the United States used the program to secretly
send people to other countries for the purpose of torture. The transfers
were portrayed as an alternative to what American officials have said is
the costly, manpower-intensive process of housing them in the United States
or in American-run facilities in other countries.

In recent weeks, several former detainees have described being subjected to
coercive interrogation techniques and brutal treatment during months spent
in detention under the program in Egypt and other countries. The official
would not discuss specific cases, but did not dispute that there had been
instances in which prisoners were mistreated. The official said none had died.

The official said the C.I.A.'s inspector general was reviewing the
rendition program as one of at least a half-dozen inquiries within the
agency of possible misconduct involving the detention, interrogation and
rendition of suspected terrorists.

In public, the Bush administration has refused to confirm that the
rendition program exists, saying only in response to questions about it
that the United States did not hand over people to face torture.


Washington Post, 3/5/05

In clandestine prisons in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and in detention
facilities maintained by authoritarian allies such as Egypt, the CIA is
holding dozens of detainees without any legal process, outside review,
family notification or monitoring by the Red Cross and other human rights
groups. In effect, these prisoners have "disappeared," like the domestic
opponents of dictatorships that the State Department annually critiques in
its human rights report. Many may have been tortured. As Attorney General
Alberto R. Gonzales confirmed in January, the administration has authorized
CIA interrogators to subject these detainees to "cruel, inhumane and
degrading" treatment banned by an international treaty that has been
ratified by the United States...