May 01, 2008 17:17 EST
The Senate Intelligence Committee moved on Thursday to ban the CIA from using private contractors to interrogate detainees.
The restriction is part of a bill that authorizes intelligence spending for 2009, which the panel approved on a 10-5 vote, sending it to the full Senate for further action.
The bill would also require the intelligence agencies to give the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all their prisoners. That would prevent the United States from holding "ghost detainees" — anonymous prisoners detained incommunicado and without records.
This is the first time the committee has mandated Red Cross access to all prisoners since ghost detainees were documented in 2004.
The bill also limits the CIA to using only those interrogation techniques approved by the military. The military specifically bars waterboarding, in which a prisoner is strapped down and water poured over his face, making the prisoner feel as though he is drowning.
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