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Bush Approved Meetings on Interrogation Techniques

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041103653.html Bush Approved Meetings on Interrogation Techniques President s Comments to
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 12, 2008
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      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041103653.html

      Bush Approved Meetings on Interrogation Techniques
      President's Comments to ABC News Prove Top-Level
      Involvement in Allowing Harsh Coercion

      CRAWFORD, Tex., April 11 -- President Bush said Friday
      that he was aware his top national security advisers
      had discussed the details of harsh interrogation
      tactics to be used on detainees.

      Bush also said in an interview with ABC News that he
      approved of the meetings, which were held as the CIA
      began to prepare for a secret interrogation program
      that included waterboarding, or simulated drowning,
      and other coercive techniques.

      "Well, we started to connect the dots, in order to
      protect the American people" by learning what various
      detainees knew, Bush said in the interview at the
      presidential ranch here. "And yes, I'm aware our
      national security team met on this issue. And I
      approved."

      The remarks underscore the extent to which the top
      officials were directly involved in setting the
      controversial interrogation policies.

      Bush suggested in the interview that no one should be
      surprised that his senior advisers, including Vice
      President Cheney, would discuss details of the
      interrogation program. "I told the country we did
      that," Bush said. "And I also told them it was legal.
      We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it."

      The Washington Post first reported in January 2005
      that proposed CIA interrogation techniques were
      discussed at several White House meetings. A principal
      briefer at the meetings was John Yoo, who was then a
      senior Justice Department attorney and the author of a
      draft memo explaining the legal justification for the
      classified techniques the CIA sought to employ.

      The Post reported that the attendees at one or more of
      these sessions included then-presidential counsel
      Alberto R. Gonzales, then-Attorney General John D.
      Ashcroft, then-Defense Department general counsel
      William J. Haynes II, then-National Security Council
      legal adviser John B. Bellinger III, CIA counsel John
      A. Rizzo, and David S. Addington, then-counsel to
      Cheney.

      The Post reported that the methods discussed included
      open-handed slapping, the threat of live burial and
      waterboarding. The threat of live burial was rejected,
      according to an official familiar with the meetings.

      State Department officials and military lawyers were
      intentionally excluded from these deliberations,
      officials said.

      Gonzales and his staff had no reservations about the
      proposed interrogation methods and did not suggest
      major changes, two officials involved in the
      deliberations said.
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