According to an ABC News report (video), "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." These officials approved "enhanced interrogation techniques" considered to be torture by many - including the U.S. Army Field Manual. According to the report "some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic." The senior officials involved were members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee including "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." In response to the report President Bush told ABC News he knew and approved of the meetings.
At one point during these meetings Attorney General Ashcroft commented "Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly."
Human Rights First