The reputation of the U.S. on the world stage might be further colored by President Bush’s veto of a bill that would have limited the CIA’s (and other intelligence agencies’) array of interrogation techniques to those in the Army field manual. In defending Saturday’s veto, Bush once again invoked 9/11.
The New York Times:
“The fact that we have not been attacked over the past six and a half years is not a matter of chance,” Mr. Bush said in his radio remarks, echoing comments he made Thursday at a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. “We have no higher responsibility than stopping terrorist attacks,” he added. “And this is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe.”
The bill Mr. Bush vetoed would have limited all American interrogators to techniques allowed in the Army field manual on interrogation, which prohibits physical force against prisoners.
The debate has left the C.I.A. at odds with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies, whose officials have testified that harsh interrogation methods are either unnecessary or counterproductive. The agency’s director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, issued a statement to employees after Mr. Bush’s veto defending the program as legal, saying that the Army field manual did not “exhaust the universe of lawful interrogation techniques.”
Democrats, who supported the legislation as part of a larger bill that authorized a vast array of intelligence programs, criticized the veto sharply, but they do not have the votes to override it.