Sources say Alberto Gonzales now claims that President Bush personally directed him to John Ashcroft's hospital room in the infamous wiretap renewal incident—and that in another instance the President asked him to fabricate fictitious notes
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently became the first Bush administration official to admit that high-level discussions of the use of torture had taken place in 2002 and 2003.
According to a written statement provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month and released on Wednesday by committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), officials were told that waterboarding and other "harsh interrogation measures" routinely used in a survival training program for US soldiers would not cause "significant" harm if used on prisoners.
The Iraqi prisoner had valuable intelligence, U.S. special forces believed, and they desperately wanted it. They demanded that expert American military trainers teach them the same types of abusive interrogation techniques that North Korea and Vietnamese forces once used against U.S. prisoners of war.
The trainers resisted, according to testimony prepared for a Senate hearing Thursday; the methods were intended to elicit confessions for propaganda use, rather than gather intelligence. They were overruled and ordered to demonstrate on the prisoner in September 2003, early in the war.
Senior White House officials played a central role in deliberations in the spring of 2002 about whether the Central Intelligence Agency could legally use harsh interrogation techniques while questioning an operative of Al Qaeda, Abu Zubaydah, according to newly released documents.
In meetings during that period, the officials debated specific interrogation methods that the C.I.A. had proposed to use on Qaeda operatives held at secret C.I.A. prisons overseas, the documents show. The meetings were led by Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, and attended by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other top administration officials.
The prosecutor in a Guantanamo war crimes case has asked to quit his assignment due to ethical concerns, defense attorneys and the lead military prosecutor said on Wednesday.
The departure would make at least four Guantanamo prosecutors who have left the job with misgivings about the fairness of the process, which has drawn international criticism as inhumane and unjust.
Judge Thomas Hogan, who is coordinating some 200 to 250 appeals in front of the federal courts, said in an order that he was granting the Government's motion.
"The court is satisfied that the Government is not dragging its feet in an attempts to delay these matters beyond what is necessary to protect the national security concerns associated with releasing classified information," Judge Hogan said in his order.
Members of the nation's premier psychologists' association will be banned from participating in interrogations at Guantanamo Bay and other military sites where international laws against torture are being violated.
The vote by the American Psychological Association means its members can work at such sites only for humanitarian purposes or with non-governmental groups.
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