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White House hopes to excuse CIA from new torture rules

[JURIST] The White House has proposed absolving CIA agents working abroad from proposed legislation barring "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of detainees, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. The exemption introduced by Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director Porter Goss, would apply to counter-terrorism operations conducted abroad and operations conducted by "an element of the United States government" other than the Defense Department. The provision [IPS report] the White House seeks to circumvent is the Senate's attempt to close a loophole in the country's anti-torture stance, requiring all US military personnel to follow detainment and interrogation procedures detailed in the Army Field Manual [interrogation manual; additional manuals]. The government has argued these manuals do not apply to foreigners on foreign soil. Earlier this month, the Senate voted 90-9 [JURIST report], over the administration's objection [JURIST report; WH policy statement, PDF], to attach the provision to a pending defense appropriations bill. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) [official website], who sponsored the legislation and himself was a victim of torture in Vietnam, has allegedly rejected the White House's proposed exemption. The Washington Post has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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