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Lawyer says letter counters torture report

WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- A CIA lawyer said his letter counseling caution in using harsh interrogation techniques on terror suspects was misrepresented in a U.S. Senate hearing.

Jonathan Fredman, the CIA attorney in charge of overseeing the agency's interrogation program after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said he told officials at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison to be careful, warning that some techniques could violate international practices, The Washington Times reported Monday.

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In a Nov. 18, 2008, letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee Fredman said he tried tell Guantanamo officials that legal uncertainties surrounding the word "torture" meant interrogators must have clear, specific guidance. The Times obtained a copy of Fredman's letter.

The focus of the letter was a memo written by another person recapping an October 2002 meeting of defense officials at the Guantanamo Bay prison in which Fredman reportedly said the definition of torture is "subject to perception," and that if "the detainee dies, you're doing it wrong," the Times reported.

Fredman disputed the accuracy of the memo, which drew a rebuke from committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan during a hearing last June on interrogation policies and was used as part of the basis for its report tracking the developments of interrogations conducted by the military.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said Fredman "made it clear to the committee that the so-called meeting minutes from Guantanamo do not reflect his views. He did not, to my knowledge, have a chance to review them and ... he takes strong exception to the picture they paint. Despite that, the committee's report links him to statements that he denies and rejects. That hardly seems fair."

The Times said efforts to reach Levin for a comment Sunday were unsuccessful.

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