Cheney lobbies for CIA exemption to torture ban

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

The United States Vice President Dick Cheney lobbied Senate Republicans to exempt the CIA from the proposed ban on torture of terror suspects held by the United States. According to senators participating in the closed door-session, Cheney argued that the administration needs an exemption from the ban on "cruel, inhumane or degrading" treatment of detainees in United States custody to be effective in the "war on terrorism", although he also said that the United States does not engage in torture.

The Vice President's appeal comes at a time when Congress is still dealing with the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, as well as allegations of torture in Guantanamo Bay. At the same time questions about secret CIA detention centers outside of United States territory and cases of individuals that have been extradited from the United States to countries that are known to practice torture to obtain intelligence information resurface in the media.

The Bush administration is growing increasingly isolated in its stance on this issue. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel said on ABC television "I think the Administration is making a terrible mistake in opposing John McCain's amendment on detainees and torture," and added "Why in the world they're doing that, I don't know."

The Office of the Vice President declined to comment on this issue.