After weeks of debate, President Bush reached a compromise with
members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who disagreed
with his plan, including Senators John Warner, R-Va., Lindsey
Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., who was himself a tortured
prisoner of war.
"We got what we wanted and that is the preservation of the
Geneva Conventions," McCain said on NBC's Today.
will be no more torture. There will be no more mistreatment of
prisoners that would violate standards of conduct that we would
expect of people who work for the United States of America."
Under the agreement, the CIA interrogation program that President
Bush called the "most potent tool we have in protecting America
and foiling terrorist attacks" would be preserved.
"The agreement clears the way to do what the American people
expect us to do -- to capture terrorists, to detain terrorists,
to question terrorists and then to try them," the president
In the proposed law, Congress would spell out interrogation techniques
that are considered "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions,
placing them under U.S. law -- the War Crimes Act.
CIA officials would have some flexibility in how they interrogate
suspects, but controversial techniques like "waterboarding,"
a simulated drowning, would be outlawed.
President Bush also retained his requests to give CIA and other
U.S. military agents immunity from persecution for actions made
in the past, when the rules for interrogation were not as well
But any new evidence allowed in terrorism trials would have to
be obtained without "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,"
as outlined by 2005's Detainee Treatment Act, spearheaded by McCain.
Secret evidence also would have to be presented to defendants
as part of a fair trial -- something the Bush administration did
not want -- though many parts would remain confidential, including
the identities of military agents who obtained the evidence and
the methods by which the evidence was obtained.