2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 18, 2005
Goss defends U.S. interrogation NEWS IN BRIEF
HEADL_"__NELS FROM_ AROUN;..._THE.-rte.RLD
pracuices beuore Senate panel
Goss about results
of report conducted
before his tenure
WASHINGTON (AP) - CIA Direc-
tor Porter Goss defended U.S. inter-
rogation practices and rejected any
notion that the intelligence community
engages in torture following months of
criticism of Americans' treatment of
Testifying yesterday before the Sen-
ate Armed Services Committee, Goss
came under intense questioning by
Democrats and Sen. John McCain (R-
Ariz.) but stood firm on the importance
of interrogation as a legitimate intelli-
gence tool, necessary to protect civil-
ians and troops.
"I can assure you that I know of no
instances where the intelligence com-
munity is outside the law on this," Goss
said. "And I know for a fact that torture
is not productive. That's not profession-
al interrogation. We don't do torture."
The CIA inspector general is looking
into at least four cases in which agency
personnel may have been involved in
the death of a detainee and other issues
related to U.S. detention policies. He
has referred one case to the Justice
Department for prosecution, resulting
in assault charges against CIA contrac-
tor David Passaro.
Democrats, including Sen. Carl
Levin of Michigan, are growing impa-
tient for the results of the CIA report,
requested last year by the former direc-
tor, George Tenet. "This is a huge miss-
ing piece," Levin said.
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) asked
Goss whether the government is using
a review process set up by the Clinton
administration to determine when to
approve "renditions," or the transfer of
foreigners to another country for pros-
ecution and detention.
U.S. authorities have flown at least
100 foreigners to countries including
Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The Bush
administration has said it seeks assur-
ances that the subject will not be tor-
tured, but critics say the practice simply
allows the United States to outsource
the dirty work.
Goss, however, defended renditions
as a 20-year-old practice with estab-
... I know for a fact that torture is not
productive. That's not professional
interrogation. We don't do torture.
lished policies. "I actually believe that
since 9/11 ... we have more safeguards
and more oversight in place than we did
before," he said.
McCain, a former POW in Vietnam,
said he was concerned that the govern-
ment lacks a specific policy about what
interrogators can and cannot do when
Goss said the uncertainties are large-
ly resolved and, where they do exist,
officials err on the side of caution.
Also in the wide-ranging hearing on
Adm. Lowell Jacoby, head of the
Defense Intelligence Agency, offered a
hint of optimism regarding Iraq, say-
ing he is seeing fewer insurgent attacks
there since the Jan. 30 elections. That
could point to a change in the insur-
gency's character, Jacoby said, but it's
too early to call it a trend. He estimated
there are 12,000 to 20,000 insurgents,
with a single-digit percentage made up
Goss said Iran has been "med-
dling in the affairs of Iraq" and "is
one of the few very obvious sponsors
of state terrorism." He reiterated that
the Shiite guerrilla group, Hezbollah,
is funded by Iran. "They ought to stop
it," Goss said, echoing administration
policy in adding that Iran's lack of
candor on its nuclear program causes
"reasonable doubt" about its intentions
Report describes plans for undersea
terrorism by two al-Qaida groups
Budget cuts to Medicaid rejected
The Senate voted yesterday to strip all proposed Medicaid cuts from the $2.6
trillion budget for next year, jeopardizing the heart of the plan's deficit reduction in
an embarrassing setback to President Bush and Republican leaders.
The change, whose chief sponsor was moderate Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) was
approved 52-48 after days of heavy lobbying by both sides. It was widely seen as a test
of the GOP-run Congress's taste for making even moderate reductions in popular ben-
efit programs that consume two-thirds of the budget and are growing rapidly.
The Medicaid cuts could still be revived when the House and Senate try writing
a compromise budget next month. The more conservative House approved a budget
Thursday by 218-214 that is tougher on domestic spending than the Senate is, includ-
ing up to $20 billion in Medicaid savings.
Smith did not rule out living with a compromise, telling reporters after the vote,
"We have to have a budget. I'm going to vote for the budget."
The budget sets overall tax and spending targets to guide Congress as it writes
bills later in the year that make actual changes in programs and tax laws.
Afghan parliamentary elections delayed
President Hamid Karzai said Afghan parliamentary elections will be held in
September, confirming that logistical troubles have postponed a vote that's sup-
posed to complete the country's transition to democracy.
Karzai announced the widely expected delay during Secretary of State Condo-
leezza Rice's first visit to Afghanistan, and insisted that security was improving,
despite a bomb attack that killed five civilians in the southern city of Kandahar.
The parliamentary vote had been slated for May, but the United Nations and the
Afghan electoral commission have been grappling with problems, including a lack
of census data and how to register thousands of returning refugees.
"The preparations are going on and now they told us, the commission chairman,
that the elections will be held in September," Karzai said at a news conference with
Rice at his Kabul palace. "The Afghan people are waiting very eagerly to send
their members to parliament."
Observers have long said the election, initially scheduled along with a presiden-
tial ballot last year, would be put off because of the huge task of organizing it.
Negotiations progress but frustrate Iraqis
Shiite and Kurdish officials reported progress yesterday in resolving disagree-
ments over territorial issues.and Cabinet posts, but said they may need another
week to put together Iraq's coalition government.
Nearly two months after they braved death to vote, many Iraqis are growing
frustrated over the slow pace of the talks.
"These negotiations included many things, not just the Kurdish issues, but also
regarding the shape of the Iraqi government," said interim Deputy Prime Minister
Barham Saleh, a Kurd.
The latest setback came after Kurdish politicians reportedly insisted on amend-
ing a deal they struck last week with the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance.
They agreed, however, to go ahead with a ceremony Wednesday swearing in the
275-seat National Assembly elected Jan. 30.
Syria completes redeployment from Lebanon
Syrian soldiers and intelligence agents in Lebanon finished moving back to the
eastern border region yesterday as the United Nations chief demanded that all of
them leave the country before Lebanese elections in April.
It was the first time U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had set a deadline
for Syria to completely remove the force it has had in its neighbor for nearly two
decades, although President Bush and others previously made the same demand.
The Syrian withdrawal from northern and central Lebanon, which began March
8, comes ahead of Tuesday's Arab League summit in Algeria. Syria has been under
Western and Arab pressure to get out of Lebanon since the Feb. 14 assassination of
former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri set off mass anti-Syrian protests in Beirut.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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plans included in
Philippine military report
MANILA, Philippines (AP) -
Two of the most dangerous al-Qaida-
linked groups in Southeast Asia are
working together to train militants
in scuba diving for seaborne terror
attacks, according to the interroga-
tion of a recently captured guerrilla.
The ominous development is out-
lined in a Philippine military report
obtained yesterday by The Associ-
ated Press that also notes increas-
ing collaboration among the Muslim
militants in other areas, including
financing and explosives, as extrem-
ists plot new ways to strike.
In the past year, the Indonesia-
based Jemaah Islamiyah has given
Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philip-
pines at least $18,500 for explosives
training alone, the report said.
The report comes a month after
the U.S. Coast Guard announced it is
seeking to better protect the nation's
ports from terrorist attacks by scuba
divers by developing a sonar system
that can distinguish human swim-
mers from dolphins.
Concerns about terrorist strikes
by scuba divers were raised three
years ago after the FBI announced it
was investigating whether al-Qaida
operatives took scuba training to
help blow up ships at anchor, power
plants, bridges, depots or other
Authorities fear scuba divers could
target ships with more accuracy than
a small explosive-laden boat like the
one used in the USS Cole blast that
killed 17 sailors in 2000 in Yemen.
According to the Philippine report,
an Abu Sayyaf suspect in a deadly
bus bombing in Manila on Feb. 14
- Gamal Baharan - described how
he and other seasoned guerrillas took
scuba diving lessons as part of a plot
for an attack at sea.
Abu Sayyaf leaders Khaddafy
Janjalani and Abu Sulaiman initi-
ated the training, Baharan said,
adding that Janjalani claimed to
speak directly with al-Qaida leader
Osama bin Laden via satellite phone.
Authorities could not verify any such
conversations and said Janjalani may
have been boasting, according to
Philippine military officials, speak-
ing on condition of anonymity.
Baharan, 35, said he was told in
October to undergo the scuba train-
ing in southwestern Palawan prov-
ince, where he periodically received
cell phone messages from Janjalani
and Sulaiman "asking him how many
fathoms he would be able to dive,"
the report said.
The training was in preparation for
a Jemaah Islamiyah bombing plot on
unspecified targets outside the Philip-
pines that require "underwater opera-
tion," Beharan is quoted as saying.
Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed
for a string of attacks in Southeast
Asia starting in 1999.
Major strikes include the Aug.
5, 2003, bombing of the J.W. Mar-
riott hotel in the Indonesian capi-
tal, Jakarta, where 12 people were
killed, and the Oct. 12, 2002, bomb-
ings on Bali island that killed 202,
mostly foreign tourists.
A military police officer guards alleged bombing suspects Angelo Trinidad
Khalil, right, and Gamal Baharan, north of Manila last month.
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