July 27, 2005

Military, Bush team clashed on questioning -report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Senior U.S. military lawyers strong
disagreed in 2003 with an administration legal task force's
conclusion that President Bush had authority to order harsh
interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the New
York Times reported.

Citing newly disclosed documents, the Times said in its
Thursday editions that despite the protests, the task force
concluded that military interrogators and their commanders
would be immune from prosecution for torture under federal and
international law. The reason was the special character of the
fight against terrorism.

The Times said that memorandums written by several senior
uniformed lawyers in each of the military services took a
sharply different view and warned that the position eventually
adopted by the task force could endanger American military

The memorandums were declassified and released last week in
response to a request from Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South
Carolina Republican, the newspaper said.

One memorandum written by the deputy judge advocate general
of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. Jack. Rives, said several of the
"more extreme interrogation techniques, on their face, amount
to violations of domestic criminal law" as well as military
law, the Times said.

The Rives memorandum also said the use of many of the
interrogation techniques "puts the interrogators and the chain
of command at risk of criminal accusations abroad," the Times

The Times said the memorandums provide the most-complete
record to date of how uniformed military lawyers were
frequently the chief dissenters as government officials
formulated interrogation policies.