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Negroponte Won't Back Cheney on Torture


By UPI

Wasington - U.S. intelligence czar John Negroponte is declining to support Vice President Dick Cheney's effort to exempt the CIA from law banning mistreatment of detainees.

"It's above my pay grade," he told a secret briefing for Senators last month, Time Magazine reported Sunday, adding that Negroponte then "artfully dodged another question about whether the harsher interrogation tactics Cheney wants the agency to be free to use actually produce valuable intelligence."

GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona has attached an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill which would specifically incorporate the Geneva Conventions' ban on cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners into U.S. law. But the vice-president and - according to Time magazine - Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, have been lobbying against it on Capitol Hill, and the White House has threatened to veto the bill if the language is included.

The news is the latest salvo in the debate which continues to rage about the treatment of a few dozen suspected senior al-Qaida leaders, held by the CIA in secret locations scattered across the world.

Pressure was ratcheted up by reports last week that some of those detainees are being held in former Soviet-era facilities in two countries in Eastern Europe - believed by human rights activists to be Poland and Romania.

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court it would hear a challenge to the legality of the military commissions that the administration plans to use to try another group of detainees - those held by the military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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