TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

then rendered back to Egypt. 113 In 1998, the US, with the assistance of Albanianauthorities, also rendered several individuals with links to al Qaedafrom Tirana to Cairo. 114Several sources suggest that under Clinton-era rules, nominal safeguards wereput in place to ensure that prisoners were not abused. For instance, the foreigncountry to which a suspect was rendered needed to have a legal case pendingagainst the suspect in question prior to rendition. 115 Rendered individualswere then supposed to be treated in accordance with international humanrights norms, although it was usually unclear whether this requirement wouldin fact be followed. 116 Furthermore, the US would abstain from sending peopleto certain countries due to their poor human rights record. Daniel Benjaminnotes that post-9/11 renditions to nations like Syria were “off the table” duringthe Clinton years since the US “didn’t do business with those people.” 117The Rendition Program After 9/11The US ramped up its renditions and detentions program soon after the devastatingattacks of 9/11. In the weeks and months that followed, the IntelligenceCommunity scrambled to obtain accurate information about the threat. Accordingto former CIA Director Michael Hayden, questioning detained al Qaedamilitants as they were captured worldwide quickly came to be consideredthe best way to elicit vital intelligence information. 118 Hayden believed thatthe intelligence gleaned from these captured militants was “absolutely irreplaceable”and formed “more than 70 percent of the human intelligence” thatbecame the basis of at least one National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism. 119Major al Qaeda figures like KSM and his replacement Abu Faraj al-Libi werecaptured and brought to the US or to third countries through the renditionprocess, even if their legal status remained a question mark. 120 Renditionsand follow-up interrogations of these individuals helped thwart several attacks.For example, Ibn Shaykh al-Libi, an individual who would later gainnotoriety for providing false information about links between al Qaeda andSaddam Hussein’s Iraq, provided FBI interrogators actionable intelligence62 Trials by Fire: Counterterrorism and the Law

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