In 1995, the Clinton administration began an extraordinary rendition program in which terror suspects were moved from one country to another. Michael Scheuer, the CIA agent in charge of snatch operations from 1995 to 1999, says about 50 renditions took place during those years.
Scheuer said he wanted the suspects brought to the U.S. as prisoners of war with Geneva Conventions protections. However, the Clinton administration believed giving the suspects POW status would have given them credibility.
Scheuer also believes that terror suspects were tortured during the Clinton years. “There was more of a willingness in the White House to turn a blind eye to the legal niceties than within the CIA,” Scheuer said. “The Agency always knew it would be left holding the baby for this one… I’m paid to protect Americans, so if the lawyers said it was okay, it was okay.”
“In 1998, SIS [MI6] believed that it might be able to obtain actionable intelligence that might enable the CIA to capture Osama bin Laden,” the British parliament’s intelligence and security committee on rendition said in a 2007 report. “Given that this might have resulted in him being rendered from Afghanistan to the US, SIS sought ministerial approval. This was given provided that the CIA gave assurances regarding humane treatment.”
The CIA never gave the assurances.
Democrats are demanding investigations regarding the alleged use of torture during the Bush years. If they want these investigations to appear nonpartisan, they should also include allegations of torture during the Clinton years.