The unnamed, highly placed sources also told the top-secret talks and meetings in the White House led to the approved use of "combined" interrogation techniques on key terror suspects who most strongly resisted providing information.
The sources said those Bush advisers signed off on whether the detainees could be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, ABC said. The discussion were so detailed some of the interrogation sessions were virtually choreographed, including how many times CIA agents could use any one tactic, the network said.
The advisers were described by ABC as members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee, senior officials who advised President Bush on national security policy issues. At the time, the committee included Vice President Dick Cheney, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, then-CIA Director George Tenet and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.