WASHINGTON -- When President Bush last week signed the
bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in
approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ''signing statement" -- an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law -- declaring that he will view
the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can
waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said.
''The executive branch shall construe [the law] in a
manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President . . . as Commander in Chief," Bush wrote, adding that
this approach ''will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President . . . of protecting the American
people from further terrorist attacks."
Some legal specialists said yesterday that the president's
signing statement, which was posted on the White House website but had gone unnoticed over the New Year's weekend, raises
serious questions about whether he intends to follow the law. (keep reading)
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International and Reprieve are hosting the biggest ever gathering of former "war on terror" detainees, in a conference from
19-21 November, to condemn an increasingly globalised network of torture.