Ashcroft: Waterboarding is not torture

July 17, 2008 at 5:12 PM

WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- 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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