Spy Chief: Torture Not Allowed

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell assured TV viewers yesterday that torture is not used or condoned under new guidelines for terrorist interrogations by the CIA.

McConnell told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that permissible techniques are “not torture, and there would be no permanent damage” to those who undergo them, the Associated Press reports. However, McConnell refused to offer specifics, saying he did not want to “aid those who want to resist those measures.”

President Bush issued an executive order outlining permissible CIA interrogation techniques on Friday. It bars torture, cruel and inhumane treatment, sexual abuse, acts intended to denigrate religion or acts ”beyond the bounds of human decency,” AP says. Extreme heat and cold would not be allowed, and adequate food and medical care would be required.

News organizations have issued conflicting interpretations of the broadly written standards. Reports have variously said they bar harsh interrogations, permit them, or take a middle course. (See this ABAJournal.com post for details.)

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