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McCain Says He Won't Back Down on Torture Ban

December 05, 2005|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said Sunday that he would refuse to yield on his demands that the White House agree with his proposed ban on the use of torture to extract information from suspected terrorists.

"I won't," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" when asked whether he would compromise. He is insisting on language that no person in U.S. custody should be subject to "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

The Arizona Republican said he had met several times with national security advisor Stephen Hadley on the issue.

Hadley, on ABC's "This Week," repeated President Bush's assertion that the United States did not torture and followed international conventions on the treatment of prisoners.

McCain, although saying he would not compromise on the torture language, said he and Hadley were in discussions "about other aspects of this to try to get an agreement." He did not elaborate.

McCain, a Navy flier who was captured by the North Vietnamese and tortured during the Vietnam War, sponsored an anti-torture measure that passed the Senate by a 90-9 vote.

But the White House said it could not accept restrictions that might prevent interrogators from gaining information vital to the nation's security and threatened a presidential veto of any bill with McCain's language.

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