House approves ban on CIA waterboarding
The House voted Thursday to prevent the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods that already are banned from...
WASHINGTON — The House voted Thursday to prevent the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods that already are banned from use by the U.S. military.
The bill, which would fund and set policies for U.S. intelligence agencies, passed 222-199. It faces strong Republican opposition in the Senate. The Washington delegation voted along party lines, with Democrats voting for it and Republicans against.
Even if the Senate approves the bill, White House officials said President Bush's advisers recommend a veto. The White House objects to the interrogation provision and other sections that would increase congressional oversight.
The legislation would require the CIA and other intelligence agencies to use only interrogation techniques authorized for the military in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations.
U.S. law and the 1949 Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners of war ban torture and cruel treatment. Bush said in a July executive order that the CIA's secret detention and interrogation system complied with the law. But his order didn't specify whether intelligence agencies could use waterboarding and other measures banned by the Army manual.
Waterboarding involves holding a person down and pouring water into his nose or mouth until he feels he's drowning. The CIA reportedly employed it against three al-Qaida suspects.
Other torture tactics the legislation would ban include forced nudity, beatings and electric shocks, and putting hoods over captives' heads or duct tape over their eyes.
"This would mean no more torture and no more questions about what the CIA is allowed to do behind closed doors," said Rep. Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill.
Republicans said terrorists could use the Army manual, which is available on the Internet, to train to resist interrogation.
"Having gone through this training myself in the Air Force, it can be very effective," said Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., who graduated from the Air Force Academy and served from 1978-89. "I don't think we should give our manuals to al-Qaida."
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., who like Wilson and Schakowsky serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said terrorism suspects "are not normal enemy combatants," adding: "They don't wear a uniform. We shouldn't be applying military rules to the intelligence community."
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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