[Ppnews] CIA chief backs interrogation policy

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Fri Mar 18 09:02:00 EST 2005

CIA chief backs interrogation policy

Friday 18 March 2005 7:17 AM GMT

CIA director Porter Goss has defended his spy agency's current 
interrogation practices but could not say all methods used as recently as 
last December conformed to US law.

Sometimes this requires what we euphemistically call a kinetic solution on 
foreign soil," Goss said. (referring to ghost detainees and rendition)

US officials do not view torture as a method for gaining vital 
intelligence, Goss said on Thursday. But he acknowledged some CIA 
operatives may have been uncertain about approved interrogation techniques 
in the past.

"Professional interrogation has become a very useful and necessary way to 
obtain information to save innocent lives, to disrupt terrorist schemes and 
to protect our combat forces," Goss told the Senate Committee on Armed 

"The United States does not engage in or condone torture," he added. "I 
know for a fact that torture is not productive. That's not professional 
interrogation. We don't torture."

Goss, who took over the Central Intelligence Agency last September, assured 
the committee the CIA complied fully with a broad definition of torture 
contained in a Justice Department memo issued on 30 December, 2004.

"At this time, there are no techniques, if I could say, that are being 
employed that are in any way against the law or would be considered 
torture," he said at a public hearing held to examine worldwide threats to 
US national security.

Illegal CIA practices

He could not offer assurances about CIA practices earlier last year, when 
the government followed a narrower interrogation policy that critics say 
led to torture.

"Are you able to tell us today that there were no techniques being used by 
the intelligence community that were against the law ... up to the end of 
2004?" asked Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee's ranking Democrat.

"I am not able to tell you that," said Goss, who offered to discuss the 
issue further at a later closed-door session.

The US intelligence community's interrogation and detention practices have 
drawn increasing world attention amid a recent series of media reports that 
have focused on a CIA policy of transferring detainees to countries known 
to practice torture.


Senate Democrats have also stepped up pressure on Republican lawmakers for 
a congressional investigation of the CIA detainee issue.

The CIA inspector general is investigating about a half-dozen cases of 
suspected abuse. Two others have been referred to the Justice Department, 
including the case of a CIA contractor charged in the 2003 death of an 
Afghan detainee.

Since the 11 September, 2001, attacks, the United States is estimated to 
have sent 100 to 150 detainees to countries known to engage in torture, 
including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan.

Unregistered detainees

Officials said the US military had also held about 30 unregistered "ghost" 
detainees at facilities in Iraq at the CIA's request.

"Terrorists brought the war to our soil. We have taken the war to them. 
Sometimes this requires what we euphemistically call a kinetic solution on 
foreign soil," Goss said.

Republican John McCain of Arizona told Goss he was concerned interrogators 
in suspected abuse cases may not have known what methods were acceptable.

"If you're going to talk about the techniques ... there has been in that 
case some uncertainty. There has been an attempt to determine what those 
policies are. I think that that uncertainty is largely resolved," the CIA 
director replied.


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