The abduction and torture of Khaled El-Masri has presented the new German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, with her first major crisis. El-Masri, who is a German citizen, was snatched by the CIA and spirited off to a remote facility where he was abused and tortured for 5 months. He was finally released when the American spy-agency realized they had seized the wrong man. So far, the media attention has focused exclusively on the CIA practice of "extraordinary rendition " and on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice 's bland defense of torture. There 's been virtually no criticism of Merkel 's reaction to the incident or what it conveys about her close alliance with the Bush Administration.
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