Rumsfeld OK.d harsh treatment of suspects

In an extraordinary disclosure of classified material, the Bush administration released 258 pages of internal documents Tuesday that portray harsh interrogation techniques — including stripping terror suspects and threatening them with dogs — as a necessary response to threats from al-Qaida terrorists.


The release of lists of interrogation techniques and other documents previously kept secret even from U.S. allies was a bid by the administration to quiet harsh criticism over its handling of prisoners in the war on terror and the conflict in Iraq.


Though some of the memos argued that Bush had the right to approve torture, the administration said it had never done so, and pointed to techniques it said fell far short of torture. In a separate press briefing Tuesday, the Justice Department backed away from a memo written in 2002 that appeared to justify the use of torture in the war on terror. That memo argued that the president.s wartime powers superseded anti-torture laws and treaties.


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