NYT: Bush now relying heavily on foreign intel to interrogate terrorists

Wait, did I say Bush? You know who I mean.

The United States is now relying heavily on foreign intelligence services to capture, interrogate and detain all but the highest-level terrorist suspects seized outside the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to current and former American government officials…

Human rights advocates say that relying on foreign governments to hold and question terrorist suspects could carry significant risks. It could increase the potential for abuse at the hands of foreign interrogators and could also yield bad intelligence, they say…

American officials say that in the last years of the Bush administration and now on Mr. Obama’s watch, the balance has shifted toward leaving all but the most high-level terrorist suspects in foreign rather than American custody. The United States has repatriated hundreds of detainees held at prisons in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan, but the current approach is different because it seeks to keep the prisoners out of American custody altogether…

As a safeguard against torture, Mr. Panetta said, the United States would rely on diplomatic assurances of good treatment. The Bush administration sought the same assurances, which critics say are ineffective

American officials said the United States would still take custody of the most senior Qaeda operatives captured in the future.

A clever move in how it kills two birds with stone, avoiding further headaches for Obama over how to dispose of terrorists in U.S. custody while leaving jihadis in the possession of people willing and able to go the Mancow route for emergency information if need be. But, er, how is this significantly different from rendition? The only difference that I can see is that instead of grabbing these people ourselves and handing them over to Jordanian or Pakistani intel for interrogation, we’re leading their guys to the suspects and letting them take it from there. “Rendition-lite,” Tom Maguire calls it. Which makes this the second Bush policy despised by the left in the span of three days that The One’s decided to continue.

Exit question: What if some of these jihadis end up in the clutches of intel agencies that are actually sympathetic to them, like Pakistan’s?