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Mukasey finds CIA interrogation tactics lawful, refuses to rule on waterboarding

[JURIST] US Attorney General Michael Mukasey [official profile] said in a Tuesday letter [PDF text] to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had completed his investigation into CIA interrogation methods used on terror suspects, finding the agency's current methods to be legal. In the letter to Senator Patrick Leahy [official website], Mukasey again refused to characterize waterboarding [JURIST news archive] as torture, saying that, since the technique was not currently in use by the CIA, it would be not be responsible for him to make a final decision on its legality. Mukasey is scheduled to testify [witness list] at an oversight hearing before the committee on Wednesday. AP has more.

Waterboarding was a major issue during Mukasey's confirmation hearings last year, when he refused to take a stance on whether the practice constituted torture [JURIST report]. In the midst of the hearings, he wrote in a letter [PDF text; JURIST report] to Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee that he did not know if waterboarding was illegal, and that it would be "irresponsible" of him to provide a legal opinion on any specific interrogation technique without an in-depth analysis of relevant laws and more information about its use.

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