Jane Mayer on Omar Suleiman, "one of the names" mentioned as a Mubarak alternative:


As I described in my book "The Dark Side," since 1993 Suleiman has headed the feared Egyptian general intelligence service. In that capacity, he was the C.I.A.'s point man in Egypt for renditions--the covert program in which the C.I.A. snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances. 

As laid out in greater detail by Stephen Grey, in his book "Ghost Plane," beginning in the nineteen-nineties, Suleiman negotiated directly with top Agency officials. Every rendition was greenlighted at the highest levels of both the U.S. and Egyptian intelligence agencies. Edward S. Walker, Jr., a former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, described Suleiman as "very bright, very realistic," adding that he was cognizant that there was a downside to "some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way." 

Technically, U.S. law required the C.I.A. to seek "assurances" from Egypt that rendered suspects wouldn't face torture. But under Suleiman's reign at the intelligence service, such assurances were considered close to worthless. As Michael Scheuer, a former C.I.A. officer who helped set up the practice of rendition, later testified before Congress, even if such "assurances" were written in indelible ink, "they weren't worth a bucket of warm spit." 

Obviously, I'm out my element here. But I wonder how many "clean" partners you can find in a situation like this--especially given that we've enabled the dirt.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.