WASHINGTON – Responding to reports the Bush administration might have authorized the use of torture, the White House released a two-inch stack of sensitive documents on Tuesday that President Bush said shows there is no truth to any such charges.
"We do not condone torture. I have never ordered torture. I will never order torture," Bush said during a photo opportunity with Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy. "The values of this country are such that torture is not a part of our soul and our being."
But the White House emphasized that the president also made clear in the same memo that all detainees were to be treated in accordance with the laws that prohibit torture. Officials felt the need to correct the record on the treatment of prisoners after the leak of legal opinions from the Justice Department (search) and some Defense Department (search) memos about interrogation methods.
The legal documents explored the legal limits on what kinds of interrogation the United States could undertake and argued the president could take an expansive interpretation of what was allowed. Many critics interpreted this to mean that the Justice Department was arguing in favor of the use of torture.
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