Washington Babylon — February 5, 2009, 12:32 pm

What to Expect at Panetta’s Confirmation Hearing

From Spencer Ackerman:

Thursday afternoon is Panetta’s long-awaited confirmation hearing. As something of a cipher on intelligence matters, Panetta can expect a tough hearing. With the CIA intimately involved in the hunt for Al Qaeda; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; and the torture policies of the Bush administration, Panetta’s approach to the future of intelligence will have far-reaching implications for U.S. national security, the rule of law, and global human rights…

It will be interesting to hear how Panetta clears up the dispute about his Clinton administration service. More interesting still will be whether Panetta defends renditions at all. Obama’s executive order leaves the door open to the first kind of renditions, empanelling a review of the practice led by cabinet officials to determine that renditions “do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture or otherwise for the purpose, or with the effect, of undermining or circumventing the commitments or obligations of the United States to ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody or control.” What sort of human-rights guarantees will Panetta — who, if confirmed, will participate in the review — insist upon?

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