Extraordinary renditions, the practice of quietly shipping suspects overseas to face interrogation by foreign governments on behalf of the US, which often ended with tortured confessions being gained, was one of many practices of the Bush Administration which gained international notoriety. Like so many other things, however, the Obama Administration is going to continue the renditions, with a slight twist.
For one, the largely extralegal renditions will be replaced by a formalized system allowing them to do so under the law. In addition, the State Department will be charged to get official “promises” from the governments doing the interrogations that they’ll maintain a level of basic humane treatment to the captives.
Of course, the Bush Administration also got such promises for at least a few of their renditions, but in many cases they meant very little and there was little the government would do in case the promise was broken. It seems unclear if the Obama Administration is going to be any more selective about believing these promises, but the very fact that they’re continuing the program at all suggests it is unlikely.
Officials were quick to reassure that the “new” rendition program does not mean that the CIA is getting out of the interrogation business. The CIA is likewise going through considerable controversy for its torture of detainees.