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Waterboarding Debate Will Return With Bush Intel Veto

President Bush is about to hand Democrats major opportunity to again debate water boarding, torture and CIA interrogation methods.

On Saturday, Bush plans to announce that he has vetoed the annual intelligence authorization bill, which would require the CIA to follow the Army Field Manual rules on interrogations. Those Army rules prohibit torture of suspects _ most notably water boarding _ but U.S. intelligence agencies operate outside these military rules.

"The president will veto the intelligence authorization bill tomorrow," White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters, according to wire services.

Democrats on Friday evening jumped on the announcement of the veto, saying it would essentially be an endorsement of torture of terrorist suspects. Several Democratic statements were embargoed for Saturday's expected announcement during President Bush's radio address.

Yet Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) released this statement:

"President Bush’s veto will be one of the most shameful acts of his presidency," Kennedy said. "Unless Congress overrides the veto, it will go down in history as a flagrant insult to the rule of law and a serious stain on the good name of America in the eyes of the world."

Democrats lack the authority to override the veto in both chambers, but the veto will undoubtedly give Democrats and Republicans yet another opportunity to debate whether torturing terrorist suspects is something the nation should endorse. Republicans say the CIA should not have to follow military field manual rules because terrorists are not lawful combatants.

Notably, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, voted with Republicans despite his stance against torture. McCain has said he has always been against torture but does not believe the Army Field Manual should be applied to the CIA.