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Old 01-14-2005, 03:24 PM   #1
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White House opposed proposal to ban torture

Congress last year dropped a measure prohibiting torture by intelligence officials after administration objected.

FROM REGISTER NEWS SERVICES

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration urged Congress last year to drop a legislative proposal that would have prohibited intelligence officials from torturing foreign prisoners, the White House acknowledged Thursday. The measure would have held intelligence officials to the same standards as military officials.

A congressional Democrat said the White House stance had left the impression "that the administration wanted an escape hatch to preserve the option of using torture" against prisoners held by the CIA.

But White House spokesman Scott McClellan, responding to a story on the matter first reported by The New York Times on Thursday, insisted that the Bush administration opposes the use of torture under any circumstances.

"We've made it very clear that we do not condone torture. The president would never authorize torture, and that applies to everyone," he said at a news briefing.

McClellan acknowledged that the White House had sent a letter to legislators in October opposing the measure, which was included in a broad bill overhauling national intelligence.

In closed-door negotiations, four senior members from the House and Senate deleted the interrogation restrictions for intelligence officers from the final bill after the White House and key House Republicans expressed opposition, congressional aides said.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who promoted the proposal, was "puzzled" by the White House's opposition, said his spokesman, Joe Shoemaker.

"On one hand they say it's not the president's policy to engage in torture, yet when we try to write that into law they oppose it. It just doesn't make sense," Shoemaker said.

The Oct. 18 letter said the administration opposed the measure on the grounds that it "provides legal protections to foreign prisoners to which they are not now entitled under applicable law and policy."

The letter was signed by White House budget chief Joshua Bolten and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and addressed to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rep. Jane Harman, D-Venice.

In addition to explicitly extending to intelligence officers a prohibition against torture or inhumane treatment, the measure would have required the CIA and the Pentagon to report to Congress about the methods they were using.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who successfully inserted language in separate legislation restricting extreme interrogations by Defense Department personnel, said debate on CIA interrogations will continue.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch called Thursday for the Bush administration to appoint a special prosecutor to probe the abuse of detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"There is an urgent need to (reinstate) the prohibition of torture and to redeem the Unites States' credibility," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of the New York- based organization.
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Old 01-14-2005, 03:57 PM   #2
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I must agree with Sen. Durbin here. I support his legislation and I wish the Administration hadn't opposed it. If they're against torture why'd they oppose his proposal? I'm confused.
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Old 01-14-2005, 04:00 PM   #3
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If they're against torture why'd they oppose his proposal?
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Old 01-14-2005, 06:22 PM   #4
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Oh, well, surprise, surprise. Damn.
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Old 01-14-2005, 07:00 PM   #5
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Why oh why can't I move out of the country NOW?
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Old 01-15-2005, 02:02 PM   #6
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Can I have your green-card?

All seriousness aside, your better off in the States than anywhere else. Take my word for it.
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