White House rejects House 9/11 bill provision that could outsource torture

White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales said in a letter to the Washington Post Tuesday that the Bush administration did not support a controversial provision in the House version (HR 10) of legislation implementing recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that could authorize US deportation of foreign nationals to countries where they might be subjected to torture. Gonzales wrote:

The president did not propose and does not support this provision. He has made clear that the United States stands against and will not tolerate torture and that the United States remains committed to complying with its obligations under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Consistent with that treaty, the United States does not expel, return or extradite individuals to countries where the United States believes it is likely that they will be tortured.
Read the full letter here. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the deportation provision controversy and the sections of HR 10 at issue here. In a related development, Gonzales defended the general legality of the Bush administration's war on terror in a speech Monday at the University of Louisville, insisting that White House supported human rights agreements such as the Geneva Conventions. The Louisville Courier-Journal has more.

 

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