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Bill would outlaw harsh interrogation

Dec. 7, 2007 at 7:11 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees have voted to approve a bill that would outlaw harsh interrogation methods used by the United States.

The bill would outlaw methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency to question suspected high-level terrorists and require all U.S. interrogators to follow procedures outlined in the Army Field Manual, which does not allow coercive interrogation techniques, The New York Times reported Friday.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said allowing the CIA to run its own secret interrogation program, "however well-intentioned, plays into the hands of our enemies."

"Our committee has wrestled with this issue for a long time," he said, "and finally, a majority has agreed that we should no longer have two systems -- one for CIA interrogators and one for the military."

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the bill would face a veto if it passes the full House and Senate.

"The CIA interrogation program has yielded extremely valuable information that has led to the capture of al-Qaida operatives and the prevention of terrorist attacks," Fratto said. "Congress should not be looking for ways to weaken this effective program."

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