Bush: CIA detention not 'torture'
Updated on 05 October 2007
Is President Bush's assurance at odds with secret documents giving CIA agents permission to use extreme interrogation techniques?
"This government does not torture people" - George BushGeorge Bush, US President
For years they have insisted that America doesn't torture detainees. But when they are the ones who define in secret what torture is, it's easy to say they don't do it.
George Bush said: "We've got professional who are trained in this kind of work to get information that will protect the American people. And by the way we have gotten information from these high value detainees that have that have helped protect you."
Khalid Sheik Mohmned is one high value al-Qaida detainee who may have been subjected to simulated drowning or 'water-boarding.' Something the Vice President says is a no-brainer but something the Congress thought they had made illegal.
Senator Patrick Leahy said: "The President and those working with are saying that basically, 'we're above the law'. The law, it doesn't apply to us."
"Of course waterboarding is torture. I mean it's outrageous. This is Nazi grade B movie stuff. We can't possibly authorise our public officials to maltreat people under our control like this."Ret Gen. Barry McCaffery
Senators learned from newspapers that a secret Justice Deparment memo says 'water-boarding' is allowed. Along with head slapping and exposure to freezing temperatures. And it's ok to use all these techniques at the same time. That's still not torture.
"Of course waterboarding is torture. I mean it's outrageous. This is Nazi grade B movie stuff. We can't possibly authorise our public officials to maltreat people under our control like this." - Ret Gen. Barry McCaffery
Presidential candidate John McCain was tortured himself in Vietnam. He thought he had banned waterboarding by passing an anti torture law two years ago
"We'll make enquiries of the administration and find out if any of the techniques such as waterboarding are still being employed and if they are we're going to have to act again."- Senator John McCain, Republican Presidential candidate.
No wonder Congress is furious, and no wonder why. The White House won't tell them what techniques have been approved or show them these memos. But it's not just that.
Extraordinary rendition flights, also known as torture flights, are used to interrogate terror suspects. By flying targets to foreign soil, the US avoided having to stick to its own rules over questioning.
What they've discovered is that in 2005 while they were writing legislation to try and ban torture, the White House was simply rewriting the rules so they could carry on doing the same things but claim they weren't 'cruel,' 'degrading' or 'inhumane' and therefore weren't against the law.
Whether it's legal or not 68 per cent of Americans think torturing detainees can be justified. Their president hints today that it works - he claims to have got vital information, even if he won't say what that information is or what they did to their suspects to get it.
Even if he won't say what that information is - or what they did to their suspects to get it.