Several issues appeared to remain in flux, among them whether the two sides could agree on language protecting C.I.A. officers from legal action for past interrogations and for any conducted in the future. Beyond the issue of interrogations, the two sides have also been at odds over the rights that should be granted to terrorism suspects during trials, in particular whether they should be able to see all evidence, including classified material, that a jury might use to convict them.So there's a complex negotiation, and the question of saying what is and what is not “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" is a conspicuous part of it. Is this a compromise where the President gives in on the issue that people notice and feel emotional about but gets what he wants on the tedious technical issues that people ignore but that actually have more effect on the real world?
September 20, 2006
That's the NYT's reading of the "suggestion," as the White House gives up on getting specific about what the general language in the Geneva Conventions means. But there's more to the legislation than that: