[JURIST] Vice President Dick Cheney [official profile] urged Republican senators during a closed meeting earlier this week to exempt CIA agents from the Senate anti-torture McCain amendment [JURIST document] attached to the 2006 defense spending bill. The amendment, approved [JURIST report] 90-9 in the Senate last month, was unanimously reaffirmed [JURIST report] by voice-vote on Friday. According to an anonymous senator, Cheney, who is usually present for the weekly Republican senator strategy meetings but rarely speaks, argued that CIA agents should be allowed to employ cruel, inhuman or degrading interrogation tactics if the president decides such procedures are necessary to prevent an imminent terrorist attack. The exemption was suggested [JURIST report] by the White House late last month; President Bush has threatened to veto the military budget [JURIST report; White House policy statement, PDF] if the amendment as currently written is attached. AP has more.