TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

RenditionsOn the bitterly cold winter day of 25 January 1993, Mir Aimal Kasi, a Pakistaninational brimming with contempt for US Middle East policies, stepped out ofhis Datsun station wagon and onto a busy road next to CIA headquarters in suburbanVirginia. Clutching a locally bought AK-47, he opened fire on vehiclesidling at a traffic signal, killing two CIA employees and wounding several more.Kasi fled the scene of his brutal slayings and evaded capture during the subsequentlaw enforcement manhunt. Within twenty-four hours, Kasi was lounging on aflight bound for Pakistan, where he would remain at large for the next four years.Eventually, the US located Kasi—with Pakistan’s assistance—in the centralPakistani town of Dera Ghazi Khan, and a joint US/Pakistani team succeededin captured him in a daring raid. 83 But because Kasi’s murderous actions madehim a popular figure in Pakistan, Washington and Islamabad decided to removehim quickly and quietly from South Asia to the US through a processcalled rendition. 84 Kasi was found guilty of capital murder in a Virginia courtroomand executed in 2002. 85The renditions program has emerged as one of the most controversial nationalsecurity tools utilized by the US government is its program to disrupt terrornetworks. Reported at great length in the media, the term rendition has becomeshorthand for the White House’s short-circuiting of well-established legalmechanisms to either incarcerate individuals from foreign lands or to transfersuspected terrorists to third countries where they may be subject to harsh interrogationmethods. However, the Bush White House was not the first Administrationto use rendition as a national security tool – the US has been renderingsuspected terrorists since the 1980s. Hence, the use of rendition as a legalmechanism to undermine threats against the US deserves special scrutiny.Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs | Harvard Kennedy School55

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