The vice president of the United States, Richard (Dick) Cheney, who generally keeps a low profile as No.2 man in the White House, has made a personal plea to his party's Republican majority in the Senate.
Cheney asked senators to consider exempting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from a ban on torture, "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of government defined suspects. Cheney's plea did not request exemption for military personnel.
Men (and presumably women) defined by the CIA as potential terrorists "deserve treatment the president decides necessary to prevent a terrorist attack," he said.
Comments from Cheney were provided to Think & Ask by a senator who was present at the closed door session and asked not to be named. Following the meeting, Cheney's office told the press they owe no explanations or comments about a private meeting with Senate members.
Cheney met with senators in a confidential meeting on 4 November to discuss the October bill they approved opposing torture measures against detainees.
On 5 October 2005, the Senate approved a ban on torture by 81 votes (90-9) with the following men opposing the ban:
The bill was twice introduced by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who was a victim of torture during the Vietnam War. Cheney and President George W Bush initially discouraged McCain from introducing the bill, but instead opted to change the language of the bill to permit "clandestine counter terrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States."
Allegations (most substantiated) of torture from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, led to lobbying for a ban torture and threats of bodily harm towards detainees. McCain has called for prisoners to either be charged or released. The exact number of detainees in Cuba is not known, it is estimated to be between 400 and 500, while in Iraq there is no such reliable estimate.
At the present time, any White House labeled "suspects" will not be released because they are considered "imminent threats to the safety of the United States," according to the White House, therefore prisoners are not granted due process, court hearings, legal representation, or visitation rights under executive order of President Bush signed in October 2001.
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