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Bush Says US Does Not Engage in Torture

President Bush has defended U.S. detention and interrogation methods in the war on terror. Mr. Bush says America will do what it must to protect itself, but will not engage in torture.

News reports alleging secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons overseas have focused renewed attention on just how the United States handles terror suspects.

President Bush was asked about the matter during a visit to Panama. He did not confirm or deny the reports of the prisons, but he offered a vigorous defense of actions taken by his administration to protect the American people.

"There is an enemy that lurks and plots and plans, and wants to hurt America again. And so, you bet, we will aggressively pursue them. But we will do so under the law," he said.

Some members of Congress say they are concerned that in their zeal to get information, interrogators may go too far.

The Senate recently passed legislation banning the use of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. The White House has opposed the measure, and is said to be seeking an exemption for CIA interrogators.

The president said the White House will continue to work with lawmakers to come up with a solution that, "will make it possible to do our job".

"And I am confident that when people see the facts that they will recognize that we have got more work to do, and we must protect ourselves in a way that is lawful," he said.

The White House has maintained that international treaty obligations are enough to guarantee the safe treatment of suspects, and has stressed on numerous occasions that the United States is living by those rules.