White House, McCain, in agreement on torture policy

After months of resistance, the White House has agreed to accept Sen. John McCain's call for a law banning cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of foreign suspects in the war on terror, several congressional officials said Thursday.

Under the emerging deal, CIA interrogators would be given the same legal rights as currently guaranteed members of the military who are accused of breaking interrogation guidelines, these officials added. Those rules say the accused can defend themselves by arguing it was reasonable for them to believe they were obeying a legal order.

The congressional officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt an expected announcement later in the day at the White House. McCain headed to the White House for the announcement alongside &to=http://english.pravda.ru/usa/2003/01/03/41574.html' target=_blank>President George W. Bush.

These officials also cautioned the agreement was encountering opposition in the House from Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. A spokesman for Hunter said negotiations were ongoing.

But Republican Sen. John Warner, Hunter's counterpart in the Senate, was said to be on board. And his spokesman, John Ullyot, said: "Senator Warner is meeting with Chairman Hunter to work out the refinements."

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