Sources: Top Bush Advisors Approved 'Enhanced Interrogation'
In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News.
The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also approved the use of "combined" interrogation techniques -- using different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one method at a time -- on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to break, sources said.
Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.
And who are these "Principals," you ask?
At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.We cannot allow this era of torture to stand in the history books without a strong and definitive action by the Democratic party. And the only way that will happen is if we have a strong Democratic president who will stand up to the thugs who have run our country into the ground for the past 8 years. I just don't have confidence that a President Obama would be able or interested in taking on this task. I do think Hillary Clinton would be forceful enough and would also understand the importance on a global scale of making a public investigation and rebuking of these tactics that were undertaken in our name as Americans.
As the national security adviser, Rice chaired the meetings, which took place in the White House Situation Room and were typically attended by most of the principals or their deputies.
Critics at home and abroad have harshly criticized the interrogation program, which pushed the limits of international law and, they say, condoned torture. Bush and his top aides have consistently defended the program. They say it is legal and did not constitute torture.
America. We torture our enemies. Are you o.k. with that? I mean, even Tom Ridge, former secretary of the Homeland Security Department knows its wrong:
"One of America's greatest strengths is the soft power of our value system and how we treat prisoners of war, and we don't torture. And I believe, unlike others in the administration, that waterboarding was, is — and will always be — torture. That's a simple statement."