However, [Secretary Rice's] assurances that spiriting terror suspects away to clandestine prisons is a legitimate tactic did not carry much weight with human rights organisations or legal scholars yesterday.
They argued that the sole use of extraordinary rendition was to transport a suspect to a locale that was beyond the reach of the law - and so at risk of torture.
"The argument makes no sense unless there is an assumption that the purpose of rendition is to send people to a place where things could be done to them that could not be done in the United States," said David Luban, a law professor at Georgetown University who is presently a visiting professor at Stanford University.
"Rendition doesn't become a tool in the war against terror unless people are being sent to a place where they can be interrogated harshly."
In her statement yesterday, Ms Rice said rendition was necessary in instances where local governments did not have the capacity to prosecute a terror suspect, or in cases where al-Qaida members were operating in remote areas far from an operational justice system.
However, the majority of the two dozen or so terror suspects known to have been subjected to rendition were captured in urban areas. Some were taken in Europe.
"Most of the ghost detainees on the list were captured in major cities like Bangkok and Karachi," said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.|Guardian|
The Bush Administration's Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, has been touring Europe and trying to convince Europeans that the US hasn't done anything illegal with its extraordinary rendition and that it doesn't condone torture. However, her arguments seem specious to many observers.
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