Originally stemmed from obsolete French, Middle French, as an alteration of reddition, after render. It is the action of giving, surrender, attribution and presentation. The term was first used in the English language in 1601, and is synonymous with Spanish's rendiction, and Portuguese's rendição.
In 1846, the term entered into the U.S. law system, Law of Extradition, as the extradition of a fugitive fleeing to another jurisdiction according to the Encyclopædia Britannica. Fugitives, even if captured by the state, could be returned to the demanding state so long as the interstate rendition procedure, provided by the federal statute, was invoked. The term 'extraordinary rendition' would later be used in 1983 as reference to moving a terrorist suspect for interrogation in a country with less rigurous regulations for the humane treatment of the prisoner.
The rendition program, developed by the CIA in the mid-1990s during the Clinton administration, allowed for the capture of high-value targets anywhere in the world and bring them to a third country for interrogation. It was critiqued as "outsourcing torture" since many of the victims were believed to have been taken to countries including Egypt, Morocco, Syria and Jordan, which have all been accused by the U.S. State Department and human rights organizations of torture.
Quoted below is a first hand illustration of the legal process by Michael Scheuer, an architect of the rendition program:
"First, we had to identify a person who was worth incarcerating. Second, that person had to be in a country that was willing to help us arrest him. Third, that person had to be wanted in a third country in a legal process. Either a warrant had to be issued for him, or he had been tried in absentia. … It wasn't just reaching out and grabbing someone. Lord knows there are hundreds of Al Qaeda people we would have liked to take off the street, but we couldn't do it because we couldn't make them fit into the mold of acceptable operations."
One suspect believed to have been rendered is Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, who ran Al Qaeda's Khalden training camp in Afghanistan and who was captured in Pakistan in late 2001. Al-Libi was the subject of a bitter dispute between the FBI, which wanted to interrogate him using its practiced methods designed to elicit information that would hold up in court, and the CIA, which wanted to get as much information out of him as quickly as possible. The battle reached the White House and the CIA was ultimately awarded custody of the suspect. Al-Libi was reportedly taken to Egypt.
1. Mayer, Jane. "Outsourcing Torture." The New Yorker. N.p., 14 2005. Web. 21 Nov 2012. <http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/02/14/050214fa_fact6>.
3. "rendition, n.". OED Online. September 2012. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/162401?redirectedFrom=rendition& (accessed November 20, 2012).
Elliot, S. "Rendition." Encyclopaedia Britannica. 25. Edinburgh: 1875.