Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rethinking Embattled Tactics in Terror War

Five years after the attacks on the United States, the Bush administration faces the prospect of reworking key elements of its anti-terrorism effort in light of challenges from the courts, Congress and European allies crucial to counterterrorism operations.

The Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee and other members of Congress have complained about not being briefed on classified surveillance programs and huge unprecedented databases used to monitor domestic and international phone calls, faxes, e-mails and bank transfers.

European governments and three international bodies are investigating secret prisons run by the CIA, and some countries have pledged not to allow the transport of terrorism suspects through their airports.

Six European allies have demanded that President Bush shut down the prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, citing violations of international law and mistreatment of detainees.

And the Supreme Court recently issued a rebuke of the military commissions created by the administration to try detainees, declaring that they violated the Geneva Conventions and were never properly authorized by Congress.

Accustomed to having its way on matters related to the nation's security, the administration is being forced to respond to criticism that it once brushed aside. The high court ruling rejected the White House's assertion that the president has nearly unlimited executive powers during a time of war, and now executive branch lawyers are reviewing whether other rules adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon will have to be revised, especially those concerning the Geneva Conventions.

FULL STORY

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