The Bush administration has proposed exempting employees of the Central Intelligence Agency from a legislative measure endorsed by 90 members of the Senate that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody. The Bush administration believes that interrogators are acting lawfully, gaining useful information to help win the war against al Qaeda and will continue to press detainees for leads.
The controversial interrogation technique known as water boarding, in which a suspect has water poured over his mouth and nose to stimulate a drowning reflex, has been banned by CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden. Human rights groups and a number of leading U.S. officials have branded the practice of water boarding as "torture", because it amounted to a "mock execution." While new legislation, reportedly, gave the CIA the leeway to use water boarding, current and former CIA officials have decided to take it off the list of about six "enhanced interrogation techniques."
A summary of the Bush Administration’s position on the issue:
After months of consultation among federal authorities and wrangling with Congress, President Bush signed an executive order spelling out legal standards for the detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists held by the CIA. The order prohibits cruel and inhuman treatment, including humiliation or denigration of religious beliefs. The order requires that detainees are provided with the basics of life, food and water, and it prohibits subjecting them to extreme heat or cold. The order, for the first time, bars "acts of violence serious enough to be considered comparable to murder, torture, mutilation, and cruel and inhuman treatment." The order was developed under the auspices of the president’s National Security Council, with several agencies involved.
An argument from an interest group supporting the Administration’s position:
‘American Daughter’ is a group that strongly
Cited: “Senate Approves Terror Detainee Bill; House Moves on Surveillance Bill.” September 29, 2006. <http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,216458,00.html> “Letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.” February 22, 2007.< http://www.uusc.org/programs/STOP/positionletter.html> “Stop the ACLU.” November 16, 2006. <http://www.americandaughter.com/index.html?http://frontpage.americandaughter.com/?p=968> “It’s About Time.” October 17, 2006. <http://www.macsmind.com/wordpress/category/aclu/> Ginbar, Yuval. Why Not Torture Terrorists? Moral, Practical and Legal Aspects of the "Ticking Bomb" Justification for Torture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Fesperman, Dan. The Prisoner of Guantanamo. New York: Knopf Publishing Group, 2007.