Bush aides in torture talks, papers show

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Aides to U.S. President George Bush had talks in 2002 on whether the CIA could use harsh interrogation techniques on an al-Qaida operative, documents show.

The newly released information indicate the officials debated specific methods the CIA proposed to use on operatives held in secret CIA prisons overseas, The New York Times reported Thursday. The meetings were led by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and attended by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, among others.


The documents provide details about the early months of the CIA.'s detention program, when the agency used harsh interrogation techniques before the Justice Department authorized their use, the Times said.

The new documents are a list of answers Rice provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is investigating abuse of detainees, such as al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah, while in U.S. custody.

"I recall being told that U.S. military personnel were subjected in training to certain physical and psychological interrogation techniques and that these techniques had been deemed not to cause significant physical or psychological harm," Rice, now secretary of state, responded to one question.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the committee chairman and who provided the documents to the Times, said the information indicated top Bush officials were more actively involved in the debate than the White House previously acknowledged.

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