According to British journalist Stephen Grey, author of "Ghost Plane," a book about the CIA's rendition program, Suleiman agreed in 1995 to let the U.S. secretly transfer suspects to Egypt for questioning. Under "extraordinary rendition," terror suspects can be taken to third countries and interrogated without oversight by the U.S. criminal justice system.
Though some suspects of other nationalities were sent to Egypt, say former senior intelligence officials, most suspects rendered were Egyptian. Egyptians who were interrogated under the program include Abu Omar, a cleric kidnapped by the CIA in Milan in 2003, and a brother of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The CIA thought it had killed Zawahiri in a bombing strike in 2002 and believed it had possession of his head. In order to get confirmation the agency needed genetic material from Zawahiri's brother, then a prisoner in Egypt.
According to Suskind, "Suleiman said, 'It's no problem. We'll just cut the brother's arm off and send it to you.' " Suskind said a CIA agent told Suleiman that a vial of blood would suffice.
Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, al Qaeda commander Ibn al Sheikh al-Libi was transferred to Egypt for interrogation. According to a U.S. Senate report, al-Libi was beaten and locked in a cage as Egyptian officials attempted to get him to confirm a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Al Libi told his interrogators, according to the report, that Hussein was supplying Al Qaeda with chemical weapons. He later recanted.
Sifton notes that the intelligence gained by the Mukhabarat via torture was often specious. Said Sifton, "On numerous occasions their intelligence was riddled with utter falsehoods and fabrications."
Sifton said that most of the torture of Egyptian citizens was conducted by the SSI and the local police, and that most of the protestors in the street who are objecting to Suleiman as a leader see him "as a regime hack, and close to the Israelis to boot."
"But insofar as his role in rendition to torture offers a hint of how he does business," said Sifton, "Egyptians are right to be wary of him. He's a creature of the Mubarak regime, an entity that maintained its power over three decades through terror and torture."
Nakhleh said many officials in Washington were stunned at Mubarak's choice of Suleiman, and called it a "dead-end appointment. . . . He is not the right person to conduct negotiations with the opposition."
ABC News' Lee Ferran contributed to this report.