A newly released Bush administration legal memo claims that the president has an unfettered right to transfer suspected terrorists to other governments without regard for whether they would be subject to torture.
The memo appears to underpin the Bush administration's use of extraordinary rendition. That was a secret program of moving terror detainees to nations where they were imprisoned and, in some cases, reportedly tortured. The document is one of nine made public Monday detailing the Bush administration's expansive definition of presidential power.
When the memo was written nearly seven years ago, the White House legal office had already decided that al-Qaida and Taliban detainees were not protected by the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of prisoners of war.
CIA Director Leon Panetta has said the U.S. will continue to engage in extraordinary rendition but will use it rarely and will be more selective where prisoners are sent.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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