Extraordinary rendition, U.S., Bill Clinton Administration

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For more information, see: Extraordinary rendition, U.S..
For more information, see: Intelligence interrogation, U.S..

A significant amount of extraordinary rendition took place in the Clinton Administration, as part of counterterrorism. Following initial U.S. interrogation, either in the nation of capture or on a U.S. ship, the prisoners were then sent to Egypt or other countries that would do detailed interrogation.

Michael Scheuer, a former Central Intelligence Agency specialist in counterterrorism, worked on developing rendition as a part of Clinton Administration doctrine in the mid-1990s. In an interview with the New Yorker, Scheuer, said “It was begun in desperation, ” intended to “detect, disrupt, and dismantle” terrorist operations, principally directed at al-Qaeda, with broad but nonspecific approval at the White House level; Scheuer cites Richard Clarke as giving a general "Figure it out by yourselves", although Clarke declined to talk to the author.

According to Scheuer, the first partner was to be Egypt, on the basis that it had the capability to track, capture and transport suspects. He said “What was clever was that some of the senior people in Al Qaeda were Egyptian,” (i.e., Egyptian Islamic Jihad as an organization and Ayman al-Zawahiri as a key target. “It served American purposes to get these people arrested, and Egyptian purposes to get these people back, where they could be interrogated.” Scheuer said that the U.S. carried out its obligations to avoid the refoulement doctrine, but told the interviewer he was "not sure" if there was a written agreement not to torture. [1]

On September 22, 1995, Abu Talal al-Qasimi, also known as Tal`at Fu'ad Qassim was captured in Croatia by CIA personnel, interrogated aboard a ship, and eventually transferred to Egypt, where he was executed. [2]

In July 1998, in Tirana, Albanian, a joint Albanian-U.S. force raided a cell of militants associated with an Egyptian insurgent group, al-Jihad (Holy Struggle).[3] Four were captured and one killed. The prisoners, Ahmad Ibrahim al-Sayyid al-Naggar, Ahmad Isma`il `Uthman, Shawqi Salama Mustafa and Muhammad Hassan Mahmud Tita, were questioned and then transferred to Egypt. `Uthman and al-Naggar, had previously been sentenced to death in absentia by Egyptian military tribunals in March 1994 and October 1997 respectively.[2] al-Naggar's brother, Magdi Ibrahim, had been acquitted in the earlier in absentia trial, but he was again tried in the 1999 proceeding. [3]

Human Rights Watch also said that the CIA had rendered another Egyptian, Issam `Abd al-Tawab `Abd al-Alim, from the Bulgarian capital Sofia to Cairo.[2]


  1. Jane Mayer (February 14, 2005), "Outsourcing Torture: The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program", New Yorker
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 , V. Bad Precedent: The 1995 and 1998 Renditions, Black Hole: The Fate of Islamists Rendered to Egypt, Human Rights Watch, May 9, 2005
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fear of torture; EGYPT: Magdi Ibrahim al-Sayyid al-Naggar, Amnesty International, 4 August 1999