The Sydney Morning Herald

THE US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, said he was directly involved in approving severe interrogation methods used by the CIA and that the prison at Guantanamo Bay should remain open indefinitely.

Mr Cheney’s remarks this week on Guantanamo appear to put him at odds with the President, George Bush.

Mr Bush has expressed a desire to close the prison, although the decision is expected to be left to the incoming administration of the president-elect, Barack Obama.

Mr Cheney’s comments also mark the first time he has acknowledged playing a central role in clearing the CIA’s use of an array of controversial interrogation tactics, including a simulated drowning method known as “water-boarding”.

“I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared,” Mr Cheney said in an interview on US television.

Asked whether he still thought it was appropriate to use water-boarding on suspects, Mr Cheney said: “I do.”

The interrogation methods have since been explicitly outlawed and have been condemned internationally as torture.

Soon after the terrorist attacks of 2001, Mr Cheney said the CIA “in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn’t do. And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.”

Asked when Guantanamo would be closed, Mr Cheney said: “I think that that would come with the end of the war on terror.”