the CIA's covert airline
Extraordinary rendition is the CIA activity of "transferring" or "flying captured terrorist suspects from one country to another for detention and interrogation" without the benefit of "formal legal proceedings." 
- 1 "Extraordinary" or "Irregular" Renditions
- 2 Planes alleged to have been used for extraordinary rendition
- 3 Bush administration statements on "rendition"
- 4 Alleged rendition pilots
- 5 Fictional Movies on Extraordinary Rendition
- 6 CIA director: Rendition good, journalists bad
- 7 Resources
"Extraordinary" or "Irregular" Renditions
"Persons suspected of terrorist activity may be transferred from one State (i.e., country) for arrest, detention, and/or interrogation. Commonly, this is done through extradition, by which one State surrenders a person within its jurisdiction to a requesting State via a formal legal process, typically established by treaty. Far less often, such transfers are effectuated through a process known as extraordinary rendition or irregular rendition. These terms have often been used to refer to the extrajudicial transfer of a person from one State to another." --Michael John Garcia, Legislative Attorney, American Law, Library of Congress September 22, 2005.
Bush administration statements on "rendition"
- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Upon Her Departure for Europe, Andrews Air Force Base, December 5, 2005: "Rice Says United States Does Not Torture Terrorists. Secretary says 'rendition' vital, legal tool to combat terrorism, save lives."
- R. Jeffrey Smith, "Gonzales Defends Transfer of Detainees," Washington Post, March 8, 2005.
- Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, James S. Brady Briefing Room, December 6, 2005. Click on "Rendition."
Alleged rendition pilots
In mid 2007, three pilots allegedly involved in the extraordinary rendition of Khalid El-Masri had their real identities revealed. The rendition of El-Masri was a particularly unfortunate one as it eventually turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. The three pilots are alleged to be
- James Kovalesky (alias James Richard Fairing)
- Eric Robert Hume (alias Eric Matthew Fain)
- Harry Kirk Elarbee (alias Kirk James Bird)
Fictional Movies on Extraordinary Rendition
CIA director: Rendition good, journalists bad
Facing mounting criticism of the renditions policy, CIA director Michael Hayden defended it in a September 2007 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. The session included a non-denial denial of allegations that the agency uses waterboarding and other methods of torture. According to an Associated Press report, Hayden claimed that:
- The renditions have been "conducted lawfully, responsibly, and with a clear and simple purpose: to get terrorists off the streets and gain intelligence on those still at large," Hayden said.
- ...He said media reports "cost us several promising counterterrorism and counterproliferation assets" because CIA sources stopped cooperating out of fear they would be exposed. In one case, he said, news leaks gave a foreign government information that allowed it to prosecute and jail one of the CIA's sources. In a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience, Hayden disputed assertions that the CIA has used mock drowning, stress positions, hypothermia and dogs to interrogate suspects — all techniques that have been broadly criticized.
- "That's a pretty good example of taking something to the darkest corner of the room and not reflective of what my agency does," he told one person from a human rights organization.
Related SourceWatch articles
- cooked intelligence
- Dispatches: Kidnap and Torture American Style
- enemy combatant
- Enemy Prisoner of War Camps in Iraq
- global detention system
- Guantanamo Camp Xray
- Independent Panel to Review Department of Defense Detention Operations
- Legal Arguments for Avoiding the Jurisdiction of the Geneva Conventions
- Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base
- Military Commissions Act of 2006
- Opium economy in Afghanistan
- Post-war Iraq
- President's Military Order of November 13, 2001, Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism
- rendition planes and drug smuggling
- The CIA Secret Prisons Leak
- war on terrorism (many related SW links)
- Dana Priest, "Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake. German Citizen Released After Months in 'Rendition'," Washington Post, December 4, 2005.
- Christina Stefanescu, "Wie enttarnt man einen CIA-Kidnapper? (How does one unmask a CIA kidnapper?)" (PDF), Zusammenfassungen zur nr-Jahreskonferenz 2007 (Summaries to the NR yearly conference 2007), page 22, netzwerkrecherche.de, 2007.
- Harry Kirk Elarbee (alias Kirk James Bird), SourceWatch.org, July 26, 2007.
- Adam Goldman, "Hayden: CIA Had Fewer Than 100 Prisoners", Associated Press, September 8, 2007.
Documents & Reports
- "Patterns of Global Terrorism-2000," Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Department of State, April 2001: Appendix E: Extraditions and Renditions of Terrorists to the United States (1993-1999).
- "Patterns of Global Terrorism-2001," Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Department of State, May 21, 2002: Appendix D: Extraditions and Renditions of Terrorists to the United States (1993-2001).
- "The United States' Disappeared. The CIA’s Long-Term Ghost Detainees." A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, October 2004.
- "Cairo to Kabul to Guantanamo." A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, March 28, 2005.
- "Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture," CRS Report for Congress, September 22, 2005 (Update); prepared by Michael John Garcia, Legislative Attorney, American Law Division. Posted by Federation of American Scientists.
- Fact Sheet: "Extraordinary Rendition," American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), December 6, 2005.
- Two British Torture Memos (.pdf) regarding information obtained via torture in Uzbekistan being used by the US and UK released in the blogosphere December 29, 2005.
- Report: "Below the radar: Secret flights to torture and 'disappearance'," Amnesty International USA, April 5, 2006. Full report (45-page pdf).