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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?
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”