Before September 11, 2001, the CIA carried out at least seventy extraordinary renditionsthe vast majority, it seems, under Clinton. We know very little about most of these renditions, but the fact of our knowing little suggests they were carried out with a degree of discretion and competence. Under George W. Bush, the quantity of renditions went up and the discretion and competence went down.
At the very least Bush rendered several score victims, and more probably a couple hundred. His demands for renditions were so great that, for example, the CIA’s in-house air fleet didn’t have enough planes, so the agency had to lease torture taxis from outside the agency. The CIA also rented many of the renderersthe on-the-ground planners, the heavies who actually grabbed the victims, the in-flight medics, you name it. A lot of them were poorly trained. ...
Even in the best of times, the CIA thinks it can get away with murder (sometimes literally), but under Bush the hubris reached heights not seen since the anything-goes Cold War days. A lot of people involved in renditions believed they would never be punished, even when breaking the laws of other countries. For all these reasons, the CIA’s renderers left a lot of prints in a lot of places, Milan being the foremost example.
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