In 2002, Bush's lawyers asserted that the president could order the arrest and imprisonment of Americans he deemed "enemy combatants." These people can be held in U.S. military prisons without charges and barred from even speaking to a lawyer, they said.
In a secret memo, Bush's lawyers also said the president could order the use of extreme pain to force captured men to talk, despite laws and treaties that bar the use of torture and cruelty.
Those policies, though widely condemned, still stand, revised but not repealed.
Last year, when the case of alleged enemy combatant Jose Padilla was due to come before the Supreme Court, the administration switched course and moved him from a military brig to a federal prison near Miami. He is being held there awaiting a trial.
A debate over torture and harsh treatment of prisoners had a similarly inconclusive end. Led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, Congress adopted a stricter ban on cruel and degrading treatment. Bush agreed to the bill but added a so-called signing statement last January saying he reserved the right to do what was necessary to "protect the American people from further terrorist attacks."
Bush's lawyers had argued that the CIA sometimes needed to use pressure and pain to force suspected terrorists to talk and to reveal plans for attacks.