|Traffic | Weather | Your account||Movies | Restaurants | Today's events|
Cheney appeals for torture exemption
WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow CIA exemptions to a proposed ban on the torture of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody, according to participants in a closed-door session.
Cheney told his audience the United States doesn't engage in torture, these participants added, even though he said the administration needed an exemption from any legislation banning "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment in case the president decided one was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.
The vice president made his comments at a regular weekly private meeting of Republican senators, according to several lawmakers who attended. Cheney often attends but rarely speaks.
The vice president drew support from at least one lawmaker, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, while Arizona Sen. John McCain dissented, officials said.
McCain, who was tortured while held prisoner during the Vietnam War, is the chief Senate sponsor of an anti-torture provision that has twice cleared the Senate and triggered veto threats from the White House.
Cheney's appeal came two days before a former senior State Department official claimed in an interview with National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" that he had traced paperwork back to Cheney's office that he believes led to U.S. troops abusing prisoners in Iraq.
"It was clear to me there that there was a visible audit trail from the vice president's office through the secretary of defense down to the commanders in the field," Lawrence Wilkerson, a former colonel who was Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff during President Bush's first term, said Thursday.
Cheney spokeswoman Jennifer Mayfield declined to comment on Wilkerson's remarks.
House foreign-aid funding favors health
President Bush would get millions of dollars more than he requested for worldwide efforts to fight AIDS but less than he sought for Iraq reconstruction and a key program to encourage global development, under a bill the House approved Friday.
Overall, the package provides $1 billion more for State Department programs than for the budget year that ended Sept. 30, but about $2 billion less than what the president wanted.
Conference yanks DEA narcotics review
A House-Senate conference committee Friday dropped a controversial provision that gave the Drug Enforcement Agency authority to review, and potentially block, the sale of all new prescription narcotics.
The legislation, promoted by Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., and attached to a multidepartment appropriations bill, passed last year with little notice. But this year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many drug makers and doctors who treat pain patients objected to renewing it, and the provision was stripped from the bill.
Compiled from The Washington Post and The Associated Press
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company