First Obama Rendition Says FBI Starved, Threatened Him

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2009 8:33 AM CDT
Soldiers detain an Afghan man during Operation Alamo Sweep in Southeastern Afghanistan, in this file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – When military contractor Raymond Azar was arrested in Afghanistan, he was hooded, shackled, stripped, photographed naked, then flown to Alexandria, Va., in the first known rendition of the Obama administration. But Azar isn’t accused of terrorism. The Lebanese citizen is accused of bribery, a charge he pleaded guilty to on Tuesday, the LA Times reports. A senior Army official said the case “should serve as a warning” to other corrupt contractors.

In court documents, Azar alleges that before they hooded him for the 18-hour flight, agents showed him a photo of his family, telling him he’d “never see them again” unless he confessed. He says he was denied food for 30 hours, then thrown into a freezing room by “more than 10 men wearing flak jackets.” The Justice Department denies wrongdoing, calling Azar’s accusations “hyperbolic.” It says the strip search and naked photos were to ensure he was unarmed. Another man arrested in the same sting alleges no such abuse.