In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most
senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific
details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by
the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News. …
The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation
techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the
interrogation sessions were almost choreographed — down to the number
of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic. …
At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney,
former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA
Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
As the national security adviser, Rice chaired the meetings,
which took place in the White House Situation Room and were typically
attended by most of the principals or their deputies. …
[After the leak of the 2002 "torture memo,"] CIA officials … returned to the Principals Committee for
approval to continue using certain "enhanced interrogation techniques."
Then-National Security Advisor Rice, sources said, was
decisive. Despite growing policy concerns — shared by Powell — that
the program was harming the image of the United States abroad, sources
say she did not back down, telling the CIA: "This is your baby. Go do
Of course, the officials involved would dispute my headline, as they regard these "enhanced interrogation techniques" as "not torture." Duly noted.