WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI [click to see original]) — Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft told a congressional committee Thursday that he does not believe waterboarding is torture.Ashcroft testified before the House Judiciary Committee, CNN reported. The committee is holding hearings on whether the Bush administration permitted torture to be used on suspected terrorists.
“I believe a report of waterboarding would be serious, but I do not believe it would define torture,” Ashcroft said.
Ashcroft said that as far as he knows U.S. agents used waterboarding three times on suspects who “would be labeled as high-value detainees.” He said he had heard from former CIA Director George Tenet that “enhanced interrogation techniques” had yielded valuable information.
Earlier this year, President Bush vetoed a bill that would have outlawed some interrogation techniques, including waterboarding or simulated drowning. The bill would have limited the CIA to techniques allowed in the Army Field Manual.
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WASHINGTON — The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”
What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.
Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts since 2001.
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