Blindfold me before I bribe again

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The LA Times reports that Raymond Azar, a Lebanese citizen was rendered from Afghanistan to the US:
Reporting from Alexandria, Va. - A Lebanese citizen being held in a detention center here was hooded, stripped naked for photographs and bundled onto an executive jet by FBI agents in Afghanistan in April, making him the first known target of a rendition during the Obama administration.

Azar, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit bribery, the only charge against him. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, but a sentence of 2 1/2 years or less is likely under federal guidelines.


"The FBI followed standard operating procedures when transporting prisoners to the United States," Gina Talamona, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said Friday. She said restraints "were used with the sole purpose of ensuring the safety of the defendants and the agents."


They said he was photographed naked and subjected to a cavity search to ensure that he did not carry hidden weapons and was fit for travel. Court records confirmed that Azar was shackled at the ankles, waist and wrists and made to wear a blindfold, hood and earphones aboard the plane.

This seems like a pretty aggressive set of security measures: presumably the FBI agents are armed and given that the prisoner has been restrained, one has to wonder exactly what the FBI expects him to do in order to escape. I'd be interested to hear what the standard procedure is for transporting known violent offenders inside the US. A little research finds this document from Virginia:

When an officer transports a prisoner in a non-caged vehicle, the prisoner shall be placed in the right front seat and secured with a seat belt. The prisoner shall be handcuffed with his or her hands behind the back, palms outward. A lone officer shall never transport two or more suspects in a non- caged vehicle unless directed by the on-duty supervisor. [Note: Some agencies require officers to place a suspect in the right rear seat, rather than the right front seat. Officer safety considerations can be argued to support either procedure.]

With that said, if you're transporting people you intend to aggressively interrogate, one might imagine wanting to isolate them to make them more vulnerable to future interrogation. Note that I'm not endorsing this, and even if that is the intention, it's hard to see why you would need to do this for someone suspected of bribery who's going to serve a couple of years.

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