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White House, Lawmakers Reach Agreement on Torture Ban


The White House and key U.S. lawmakers have reached agreement on legislation to ban all forms of torture on all people in U.S. custody.

Speaking from the White House, President Bush Thursday said the deal makes it clear to the world that the U.S. government does not torture.

The agreement would put specific procedures for interrogation into the Army Field Manual and prohibit cruel or inhumane treatment and torture, regardless of where people are held.

The chief sponsor of the ban, Republican Senator John McCain, said the measure sends a message to the world that the United States is not like the terrorists.

Senator John Warner, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he is confident the legislation will be finalized.

But his House of Representatives counterpart Duncan Hunter is seeking written assurances from the White House that the measure will not damage U.S. intelligence gathering.

The Bush administration had previously opposed the amendment, saying it could limit the president's ability to stop a terrorist attack.

The administration has been buffeted by revelations of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and harsh interrogations at U.S. facilities in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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