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CIA chief says US will limit detainee destinations

world Updated: Feb 26, 2009 09:22 IST

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The United States may limit the countries to which it sends alleged terrorists to those with good human-rights records and will be less inclined in general to hand over prisoners,according to CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Panetta indicated at his first on-the-record meeting with reporters since his confirmation this month that President Barack Obama is less inclined to hand over prisoners to other countries than was the administration of former President George W Bush.

"If it's someone we are interested in, there is no purpose to rendering anyone, particularly if it's a high-value target," he said.

Panetta said he believes prisoners should be handed over only to countries that would have a legal interest in them: their home countries or ones where prisoners have charges pending.

Panetta made headlines during his confirmation hearings this month when he confirmed that Obama intended to continue rendering prisoners captured in the US campaign against terrorists.

He said the administration would get assurances first from the country that the prisoner would not be tortured or have his human rights violated.