TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

evidence gathering procedures. But as Georgetown University professor DanielByman noted in Congressional testimony, “Many US allies in the Middle Easthave a far lower standard of evidence and are willing to bend what rules theyhave in response to a US request.” 104Rendering individuals to nations with lower evidentiary standards at trialmaximizes the likelihood they will remain incarcerated for a long time andnot pose a threat to American citizens and interests, while at the same timeensuring that US intelligence sources and methods remain secret.The Case Against RenditionOf course, the grave legal, ethical and political problems posed by renditionsshould not be discounted:Rendition violates global norms of conduct. Renditions undermine the notionthat the US is a nation of laws that adheres to permissible codes of internationalbehavior. The formal process of extradition involves the issue of a warrantsubject to independent review by both the State and Justice Departments;the Secretary of State ultimately signs off on the warrant, making him or heraccountable. 105 Due to its secretive nature, however, rendition blurs the linesof accountability and responsibility. As such, the act of rendition irritates USallies and can undermine otherwise friendly international relationships.Human beings are fallible; the US occasionally renders innocent people. Sinceintelligence is almost always based on incomplete, perishable information,sometimes the US accidentally renders innocent people. These mistakes makethe Intelligence Community—specifically CIA—seem foolish and incompetent,while also undermining the technique’s overall legitimacy.This is publicly known to have happened at least several times – perhaps themost egregious example being the rendition of Khaled al-Masri, a LebanesebornGerman citizen who was mistaken for an al Qaeda operative and renderedto Afghanistan where he was held for several months before US officials60 Trials by Fire: Counterterrorism and the Law

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