It's time for the Bush administration, and those European governments that have aided its "renditions" of suspected terrorists, to come clean about the process and return to international, legal procedures that govern the treatment of detainees.
Renditions refer to the Central Intelligence Agency's process of secretly nabbing suspects in one country – with at least implicit, if not explicit, cooperation of agents for that government – and transferring them to another for interrogations.
The suspects are often "rendered" to secret prisons in countries such as Egypt, Syria, or Afghanistan. They may be placed in isolation, denied due legal process, and in some cases, allegedly tortured.
Until recently, European governments have been extremely critical of the US rendition process and have mostly denied hosting secret prisons and transit points in their countries.
But just this past weekend – in an indication that at least one European government's agents directly aided a CIA abduction – the government of Italy arrested two of its high-level intelligence officials for their alleged involvement with the CIA in the 2003 kidnapping of an Egyptian imam, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr.
Mr. Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was picked up near his home in Milan and flown to Egypt, where, he claims, he was tortured. In addition to the arrests of the Italian intelligence officials, prosecutors there issued arrest warrants for four more Americans as well (they'd previously issued warrants for 22 Americans in the case), three of them employees of the CIA and one from the military air base at Aviano, Italy.