If you act on wrong information, seize a naturalized Canadian citizen, send him to Syria where he is tortured, isn't that a little more than "mishandling" his case? Yet, that is the term that our Secretary of State used in a Congressional hearing regarding the case of Maher Arar. Arar was seized by the U.S. when U.S. authorities were told, wrongfully, that he had ties to terrorist groups. He was then sent by the U.S. to Syria, where he was tortured and imprisoned for one year.
The U.S. refuses to apologize to Arar and refuses to remove him from a list of people who are not allowed to enter the United States. What's more interesting is that Rice was elusive when she was questioned about what she knew or didn't know about Arar being tortured. Here is a quote from the AP article about the hearing:
Last week U.S. lawmakers from both parties urged the Bush administration to apologize to Arar, a software engineer who is married with two children.
Rice did not apologize in the hearing and avoided directly answering a question from Massachusetts Democrat Rep. William Delahunt who asked if she knew Arar was tortured in Syria.
"You are aware of the fact that he was tortured?" Delahunt asked.
"I am aware of claims that were made," she responded.
But when asked if the United States had received any diplomatic assurances from Syria that Arar would not be tortured, Rice said her memory of the events had faded and she would have to respond later to the question.
There is a belief among foreigners and Americans that the U.S. seizes people who it believes are involved in terrorist activity and sends them to foreign countries where they are tortured to get information. Rice claims this is not true. This is what she told the committee conducting the hearing:
We do absolutely not wish to transfer anyone to any place in which they might be tortured."
Yet, who is going to believe her if she refused to apologize to a Canadian who his government found was tortured in Syria, where we sent him?