Bush Administration critic Michael Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, appeared in an interview yesterday with Die Zeit , which revealed the origin under the Clinton Administration of several controversial US methods of fighting Terrorism. AFP English report here:
BERLIN (AFP) – The CIA’s controversial “rendition” program to have terror suspects captured and questioned on foreign soil was launched under US president Bill Clinton, a former US counterterrorism agent told a German newspaper.
Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the CIA who resigned from the agency in 2004, told Thursday’s issue of the newsweekly Die Zeit that the US administration had been looking in the mid-1990s for a way to combat the terrorist threat and circumvent the cumbersome US legal system.
“President Clinton, his national security advisor Sandy Berger and his terrorism advisor Richard Clark ordered the CIA in the autumn of 1995 to destroy Al-Qaeda,” Scheuer said, in comments published in German.
“We asked the president what we should do with the people we capture. Clinton said ‘That’s up to you’.”
Scheuer, who headed the CIA unit that tracked Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from 1996 to 1999, said that he developed and led the “renditions” program, which he said included moving prisoners without due legal process to countries without strict human rights protections.
“In Cairo, people are not treated like they are in Milwaukee. The Clinton administration asked us if we believed that the prisoners were being treated in accordance with local law. And we answered, yes, we’re fairly sure.”
At the time, he said, the CIA did not arrest or imprison anyone itself.