Report: Pentagon had torture framework

June 7, 2004 at 8:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 7 (UPI) -- A classified U.S. defense report says the United States could circumvent international laws on torture under national security considerations.

In a March 6, 2003, draft of the report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Bush administration lawyers contended the president wasn't bound by laws prohibiting torture, and government agents who might torture prisoners at his direction couldn't be prosecuted by the Justice Department.

The advice was part of a report on interrogation methods prepared for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after commanders at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, complained in late 2002 they weren't getting enough information from prisoners using conventional interrogation techniques.

The complete draft document was classified "secret" by Rumsfeld and scheduled for declassification in 2013.

The report said the president, despite domestic and international laws constraining the use of torture, has the authority as commander in chief to approve almost any physical or psychological actions during interrogation, up to and including torture.

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