Rice defends post 9/11 interrogation techniques

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday defended tough interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects approved by the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11, saying they were necessary to protect America from new attacks.

In her most extensive public comments about how the administration dealt with detainee interrogations in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, and the anthrax attacks that followed, Rice insisted the methods of questioning complied with both U.S. law and treaty obligations.

But she acknowledged that those rules had since changed and that the United States was a "different place" then, adding that the administration's top priority at the time had been preventing new attacks and not necessarily observing fine legal points.

"The fact is that after Sept. 11, whatever was legal in the face of not just the attacks of Sept. 11, but the anthrax attacks that happened, we were in an environment in which saving America from the next attack was paramount," Rice said.

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