A deal on rules for questioning and trying foreign terrorism suspects held by the United States has been hammered out between George W. Bush and rebel Republican senators. The president hailed the compromise, expected to pave the way for a vote in Congress next week, as a means to help save American lives. “I am pleased to say that this agreement preserves the most single, most potent tool we have for protecting America and foiling terrorist attacks and that is the CIA programme to question the world’s most dangerous terrorists and to get their secrets,” he said on a trip to Orlando, Florida.
“The measure also creates military commissions that will bring these ruthless killers to justice. In short, the agreement clears the way to do what the American people expect us to do.”
The president was forced to make concessions after leading Senate Republicans challenged his proposals to allow harsh questioning of suspects and to limit detainee rights at trial. He believes the deal will allow for the resumption of military tribunals, which were stopped after a ruling by the Supreme Court. The US has faced criticism for the indefinite detention of suspects at Guantanamo Bay, amid claims of prisoner abuse and torture – something the Bush administration denies.