- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and rebellious Senate Republicans announced agreement today on rules for the interrogation and trial of suspects in the war on terror. President Bush urged Congress to put it into law before adjourning for the midterm elections.

“I’m pleased to say that this agreement preserves the single most potent tool we have in protecting America and foiling terrorist attacks,” the president said, shortly after administration officials and key lawmakers announced agreement following a week of high-profile intraparty disagreement.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, one of three GOP lawmakers who told Bush he couldn’t have the legislation the way he initially asked for it, said, “The agreement that we’ve entered into gives the president the tools he needs to continue to fight the war on terror and bring these evil people to justice.”

“There’s no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved,” Mr. McCain said, referring to international agreements that cover the treatment of prisoners in wartime.

Details of the agreement were sketchy.

The central sticking point had involved a demand from Mr. McCain, Sen. John Warner of Virginia and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for a provision making it clear that torture of suspects would be barred.

One official said that under the agreement, the administration agreed to drop language that would have stated an existing ban on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment was enough to meet Geneva Convention obligations.

Convention standards are much broader and include a prohibition on “outrages” against “personal dignity.”

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