Rumsfeld rejects torture allegations

A report by a U.S. Senate Committee has accused top officials, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, of responsibility for abuses at Guantanamo Bay.

The Arms Services committee investigation says that decisions by Rumsfeld and others led to serious offences against prisoners in Iraq and many other places.

The bi-partisan report, which was issued by presidential race runner-up Senator John McCain and Senator Carl Levin from Michigan, claims that high-ranking Bush administration officials promoted harsh interrogation techniques that not only disgraced the U.S. but were a compromise to its own national security.

"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own," the report states. "The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees."

While the administration has tried to rationalize its use of interrogation techniques as legal, effective and helpful in protecting the country, the 25 member panel, which received no dissent among the 12 republicans, agreed strongly against the Bush administration’s claims.

Upon the release of the report, Rumsfeld rejected the conclusions and blamed the committee for damaging the U.S. image.

"It's regrettable that Senator Levin has decided to use the committee's time and taxpayer dollars to make unfounded allegations against those who have served our nation," said Keith Urbahn, an aide to Rumsfeld.

The White House made no comment. (December 17, 2008)  

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