Under the Bush administration, the CIA began a practice of nabbing people off of the streets all over the world (Extraordinary Rendition). They would be stripped, drugged, and flown via secret flights to secret locations, often allegedly chosen because of their lax laws on torture and interrogation. They were mistreated and interrogated, all without accusation, trial, or notification to either the country they were stolen from or their families. Many were released after years of torture without so much as an official accusation or apology.
Barack Obama has been conspicuously silent about the practice. He created a task force to reexamine renditions to make sure that they “do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture”, but has otherwise taken no action to ban the practice. The L.A. Times cites an anonymous source within the Obama administration as saying, “The legal advisors working on this looked at rendition. It is controversial in some circles and kicked up a big storm in Europe. But if done within certain parameters, it is an acceptable practice.”.
At some point things like this have to fall under some sort of oversight. The danger of knowledge of capture affecting results is a short term one. Once an individual is noticed as missing, any organization they belong to would act under the assumption of capture. The risk of corruption that inevitably follows government unaccountability is then the greater threat. I could support the practice under very short term conditions. I can’t see holding anyone or more than a week without at least notification to their country of origin. Obama has banned torture and closed Gitmo. He has some credibility on the subject with me, but I’m going to be watching this one closely. I’ll update this post as more becomes available.