The CIA under Leon Panetta has made some changes, but generally the agency’s new policies reflect “considerable continuinty with the Bush Administration,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Although the Obama Administration is closing Guantanamo Bay and overseas prisons, which are very significant changes, there are numerous controversial practices that will continue.
The Obama Administration is going to continue using rendition, although reports indicate they’ll make sure countries who receive their citizens don’t torture them (just like under the previous administration). As for “enhanced interrogation” (torture according to some), clear guidelines are going to be established but there will be exceptions available if the president authorizes it. Panetta says they are also reviewing more aggressive tactics like waterboarding, which are currently prohibited, and will make a decision on whether to ban them once the review is finished. For now, the CIA will be forced to use only the 19 techniques that the military is permitted to use.
And there’s more…
“The Obama administration has also shown a reluctance to overturn Bush administration views on certain terrorism-related legal matters. Earlier this month, it backed Bush-era positions that a case against a contractor alleged to have helped with CIA renditions shouldn’t go forward because it will reveal “state secrets,” and that detainees in Afghanistan don’t have the right to challenge their detention in a U.S. court.”
One other noteworthy item: Panetta appears to be bringing affirmative action into the agency.
“He said he will work to improve diversity at the agency, raising the proportion of minorities in the work force to 30% from 22%.”