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Thursday, January 13, 2005

White House fought curbs on interrogations- NYT

White House fought curbs on interrogations- NYT

White House fought curbs on interrogations- NYT
NEW YORK, Jan. 13 — At the urging of the White House, congressional leaders scrapped a legislative measure last month that would have imposed new restrictions on the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The defeat of the proposal affected one of the most obscure arenas of the war on terrorism, involving the CIA's secret detention and interrogation of top terror leaders, according to the newspaper, citing congressional officials.
The Senate had approved the new restrictions, by a 96-2 vote, as part of the intelligence reform legislation, the article said. They would have explicitly extended to intelligence officers a prohibition against torture or inhumane treatment and would have required the CIA as well as the Pentagon to report to Congress about the methods they were using, said the report on the Times' Web site.
In closed-door negotiations, four senior members from the House and Senate deleted the restrictions from the final bill after the White House expressed opposition, the Times reported.
In a letter to members of Congress, sent in October and made available by the White House Wednesday in response to inquiries, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice expressed opposition to the measure on the grounds it ''provides legal protections to foreign prisoners to which they are not now entitled under applicable law and policy,'' according to the report. Rice is secretary of state-designate.
In interviews Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican negotiator, and Rep. Jane Harman of California, a Democratic negotiator, said the lawmakers ultimately decided the question of whether to extend the restrictions to intelligence officers was too complex to be included in the legislation, according to the report.
Some Democratic congressional officials said they believed the Bush administration was trying to maintain some legal latitude for the CIA to use interrogation practices more extreme than those permitted by the military, the article said.

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