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Rendition for . . . Bribery:

The LA Times reports on a recent rendition to the United States:

A Lebanese citizen being held in a detention center [in Alexandria, VA] 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.

Unlike terrorism suspects who were secretly snatched by the CIA and harshly interrogated and imprisoned overseas during the George W. Bush administration, Raymond Azar was flown to this Washington suburb for a case involving inflated invoices.

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.

According to the article, Azar and others were caught in a sting for paying kickpacks to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official in order to obtain payments to a foreign contractor.

A Justice Department spokesperson says the FBI was just following "standard operating procedures" in how it handled Azar, adding "we take very seriously criminal fraud against the United States government." A representative of Human Rights Watch calls the case "bizarre." Unless there's more to this story, I'm with HRW on this one.

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