Zelikow, who later served as executive director of the Sept. 11 Commission, was the author of a 2006 memo opposing the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques." While the administration ordered the destruction of all copies, a draft was released earlier this week following a Freedom of Information Act request.
In an e-mail exchange with Britain's The Guardian newspaper, Zelikow said he still believes the techniques approved under Bush were "wrong" and may have violated U.S. and international laws. He said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice supported his position.
"I do regard the interrogation practices and conditions of confinement, taken together, as torture -- in the ordinary layman's use of this term," he told the newspaper, although he said he avoided the word "torture" because of its legal definition.
"I have sometimes just referred to 'physical torment' instead, which seems expressive and is accurate," he added.