Like his predecessor Bill Clinton, George W. Bush employed the process of "extraordinary rendition," which allowed the CIA to detain suspects and transfer them to secret prisons in countries such as Egypt, Syria, or Afghanistan. The European Union has criticized the process.
In a 2006 op-ed, Institute for Policy Studies Director John Cavanagh recounted the plight of Maher Arar, a dual Canadian-Syrian citizen who was detained at JFK airport in 2002 on suspicion of being linked to Al Qaeda. He was 'rendered' to Syria, tortured, and released a year later. A Canadian investigation found him innocent of all terrorist ties, and the government apologized.
President Obama, days into his presidency, established a task force to ensure that the process of 'rendition' followed domestic laws. But in September, according to the Monitor, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals voted 6 to 5 to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of five former terror suspects who charged they were whisked to undisclosed prisons overseas for brutal interrogations. The case drew criticism that Obama was upholding the policies of Bush.