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Bush: Intel bill veto necessary

U.S. President George W. Bush speaks after meeting with the family of Cuban political prisoners in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on March 7, 2008. (UPI Photo/Ron Sachs/POOL)
1 of 2 | U.S. President George W. Bush speaks after meeting with the family of Cuban political prisoners in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on March 7, 2008. (UPI Photo/Ron Sachs/POOL) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush said Saturday he vetoed an intelligence bill because it deprived the CIA of "one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror."

The president used his weekly radio address to announce the veto of the intelligence authorization measure.

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"The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror -- the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives," Bush said. "This program has produced critical intelligence that has helped us prevent a number of attacks."

Without mentioning the contentious practice of waterboarding by name, the president said the program has been effective because it allows the CIA to use "specialized interrogation procedures to question a small number of the most dangerous terrorists under careful supervision."

The bill Congress passed would "restrict the CIA's range of acceptable interrogation methods to those provided in the Army Field Manual," Bush said.

"The procedures in this manual were designed for use by soldiers questioning lawful combatants captured on the battlefield," he said. "They were not intended for intelligence professionals trained to question hardened terrorists."

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