However, and tellingly in light of recent cases and an all-time peak in the number of U.S.-detained prisoners who have been "rendered", our Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez -- the nation's highest-ranking law enforcement officer, who you may remember as having drafted a memo in which he called the Geneva Conventions "outdated" and urged that American forces not consider themselves subject to same -- claims that the standard applied by the military and intelligence communities under the Bush administration is that it is "more likely than not" that no torture will take place.
GONZALEZ: Now, Col. Bashir, if we render this prisoner to you in Jordan, are you going to torture him?
BASHIR: I would say there is no better than a 49% chance he will be tortured by us.
GONZALEZ: Good enough. Here you go.
In addition to playing the odds, Gonzalez says "additional assurances are required" from countries with a history of using torture. He further claims that U.S. government officials have even "checked on some" rendered prisoners to make sure that they're not being mistreated.
GONZALEZ: Now, Gen. Karimov, we'd love to render this prisoner to you in Uzbekistan, but the fact is, you've got a bad reputation.
KARIMOV: You don't say so. For what possible reason?
GONZALEZ: Well, you tend to boil people.
KARIMOV: Boil people, is that what?
GONZALEZ: To death.
KARIMOV: Look, Mr. General Gonzialev, I am not saying there has not been boiling. There has been boiling. Sometimes people get boiled, there's really not anything you can do about it. It's the price of democracy, the occasional boiling-to-death.
GONZALEZ: I understand.
KARIMOV: But I am here to tell you: I give you my personal assurance that this prisoner will probably not be boiled.
KARIMOV: The odds are less than 1 in 2 than he will be boiled to death.
GONZALEZ: Can you give me some kind of additional assurance?
KARIMOV: I will go as far as to say that the odds are an even more robust 3 to 1 against that he will be torn into sections after being chained to the bumpers of jeeps headed in opposite directions.
GONZALEZ: All right. We'll let you have him. But we might come and check to see if he's okay!
GONZALEZ: Well, there's about a .007% chance. Much less than the odds of him being boiled, but it's still a possibility.
KARIMOV: We will endeavor to keep that in mind.