In their effort to build a “new paradigm” for dealing with enemy prisoners, senior Bush administration officials, according to a report released by the Senate Armed Services Committee, suppressed or ignored conflicting legal opinions to ensure that “aggressive interrogation techniques” (torture) would be available to interrogators.

The Wall Street Journal:

Senior Bush administration officials made possible the spread of aggressive interrogation methods from Guantanamo to Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a report released Tuesday by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Bush officials “solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques” and “redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality,” concludes the report, which, according to committee chairman Carl Levin (D., Mich.), was approved without objection from Democrats or Republicans on the panel. The report says the Bush officials suppressed or ignored conflicting legal advice from senior military officers to ensure that practices would be available to interrogators.

The 232-page report, compiled after years of investigation by committee staff, was adopted in November, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that the Defense Department approved the release of an unclassified version, Sen. Levin said.

The report, focusing on Defense Department actions, adds to the picture of an administration scrambling after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to construct a “new paradigm” for dealing with enemy prisoners, in the words of former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who later served as attorney general.

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