WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The Obama administration appears to be retaining the controversial "rendition" of suspects as one of the United States' anti-terrorism tools, sources say.
The rendition program was a component of the Bush administration's war on terrorism that, unlike other unpopular measures instituted by the former president, current President Barack Obama has decided he can't afford to discard, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
Under rendition, the CIA is given authority to carry out secret abductions in foreign countries and transfer the prisoners to other countries that cooperate with the United States. The program has been widely denounced by European allies as well as by domestic critics, who say "rendered" suspects are sometimes tortured for information.
"Obviously you need to preserve some tools -- you still have to go after the bad guys," an unnamed Obama administration official told the Times. "The legal advisers 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."
"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, agreed Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.