A group of retired U.S. military leaders is expressing "deep concern" about President Bush's nominee to lead the U.S. Justice Department.

The officers want Attorney-General nominee Alberto Gonzales to explain his views on torture, and his role in crafting Bush administration policy on treatment of terror suspects.

As White House legal counsel, Mr. Gonzales wrote a 2002 memo advising Mr. Bush that prisoner-of-war protections in the Geneva Convention were made "obsolete" by the U.S.-led war on terror.

He also approved a Justice Department memo suggesting some legal defenses U.S. officials could use if they faced criminal charges for torture.

The White House says the United States has always operated under the spirit of the Geneva Convention.  Last week, the Justice Department broadened its definition of acts that constitute torture, saying it is "abhorrent to both American laws and values, and to international norms."