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Obama Legal Team Meets With Anti-Torture Generals

PAMELA HESS | December 3, 2008 11:36 PM EST | AP

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President-elect Barack Obama is pictured during a news conference in Chicago, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON — A dozen retired generals met with President-elect Barack Obama's top legal advisers Wednesday, pressing their case to overturn some of the Bush administration's terrorism-fighting policies.

Obama has criticized practices that he says amount to torturing detainees during interrogations and has promised to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Among those who met with Eric Holder, Obama's pick to be attorney general, and Greg Craig, the incoming White House counsel, were Gen. Charles Krulak, a former Marine Corps commandant, and retired Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, former chief of the Central Command.

"It's important that the dialogue is going," Hoar said. "Part of the challenge here is big and philosophical. Part is nuts and bolts. How do you translate the rhetoric of the campaign and the transition period into action?"

The generals would like to see authority rescinded for the CIA to use harsh interrogation methods that go beyond those approved for use by the military; an end to the secret transfer of prisoners to other governments that have a history of torture; and the closing of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

They organized against the current policies through an advocacy group, Human Rights First, shortly after the 2004 revelations of prison abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. They helped win passage of a 2005 bill requiring that all U.S. prisoners, including those taken by the CIA, receive humane treatment.

President George W. Bush in March vetoed legislation championed by the retired officers that would have held the CIA to the military's interrogation methods.

The transition team official said no decisions about the detainee policies will be made until after the inauguration and Obama's full national security and legal teams are in place.

Filed by Nick Sabloff  |  Report Corrections