White House opposition to torture ban "terrible mistake," Hagel says

[JURIST] US Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) [official website] said Sunday that the Bush administration is making a "terrible mistake" by opposing a proposed ban on torture and other inhuman treatment of prisoners [JURIST document] in US custody. The amendment, proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) [official website], was approved by a 90-9 vote [JURIST report] in the Senate last month and added to the 2006 defense spending bill. The measure was also unanimously reaffirmed [JURIST report] by voice-vote last week. President Bush has threatened to veto the legislation [JURIST report; White House policy statement, PDF] if the provision is included in the final version of the spending bill agreed upon after House-Senate negotiations. Additionally, Vice President Cheney has urged Senators to include an exemption for CIA officers [JURIST report], arguing that CIA agents should be allowed to employ "cruel, inhuman or degrading" interrogation tactics if the president decides such procedures are necessary to prevent an imminent terrorist attack. Meanwhile, McCain has vowed to include the torture ban [LA Times report] "in every piece of important legislation voted on in the Senate" until the President signs the ban into law. AP has more.

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