"Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people." Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."
As first reported by ABC News Wednesday, the most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA.
The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.
These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding, sources told ABC news.
The advisers were members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.
At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Dick Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
...The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also approved the use of "combined" interrogation techniques -- using different techniques during interrogations instead of using one method at a time -- on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to break, sources said.
Powell said, "I'm not aware of anything that we discussed in any of those meetings that was not considered legal."
... before Wednesday's report, the extraordinary level of involvement by the most senior advisers in repeatedly approving specific interrogation plans -- down to the number of times the CIA could use a certain tactic on a specific al Qaeda prisoner -- had never been disclosed. ... Powell said that he didn't have "sufficient memory recall" about the meetings and that he had participated in "many meetings on how to deal with detainees." - abc
The torture at Abu Ghraib was made out to be the act of a few bad eggs. This news raises again the possibility that the senior team actually approved those acts too beforehand. Stop calling water boarding "simulated drowning" you lying bastards. It is REAL drowning. According to the people who do the technique, and those who have survived it, water board victims are ACTUALLY suffocated. It is smother-bagging. It is a brutal torture, nothing less. It elicits false confessions and is worthless for anything other than enjoyment of almost killing another human being.