WASHINGTON — Days after a report on George W. Bush-era interrogation techniques concluded that intelligence agencies employed tactics widely regarded as torture, top officials from the Bush White House took to the Sunday morning talk shows to bash the report as partisan and defend the actions of the CIA and other intelligence agencies at the time.

“We needed to do something different, and this was something different, and it worked very well,” Jose Rodriguez, who was a top CIA official during the Bush administration, said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.” He added, “All of these techniques were approved by the lawyers.”

Current and former intelligence officials have been sharply defensive of CIA tactics in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and have insisted that declassifying a report that details counterterrorism tactics puts intelligence agents and troops participating in ongoing efforts at risk.

“This report throws the CIA under the bus. It throws under the bus all of those people who worked so hard to prevent another attack,” said Rodriguez, who was one of several Bush administration officials who suggested that the release of the report could embolden enemies abroad. “This is a serious problem for us and for the intelligence community, and we’re going to pay the price for this.”

During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” former vice president Dick Cheney invoked the memory of the Sept. 11 attacks when discussing the interrogation techniques, insisting that what U.S. intelligence agents did to extract information from terrorism suspects was not torture — instead, he maintained, the terror attacks itself were a form of torture for Americans.

“I’d do it again in a minute,” Cheney said, backing the CIA’s interrogation program and insisting that some techniques described in the newly released report, specifically “rectal feeding” of some detainees, were done for medical reasons.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who was subjected to torture when he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, remains the most prominent Republican to support the release of the report and to criticize the practices detailed in the report as torture.

“Some of these practices fly in the face of everything that America stands for,” McCain said on “Face the Nation.” “You can’t claim that tying someone to the floor and having them freeze to death is not torture.”

The report disputed claims by CIA and Bush administration officials that advanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, regarded by many as torture, were directly linked to the capture and killing of terror leader Osama bin Laden. It also raised new questions about whether the CIA lied to Congress and the White House about the techniques, a suggestion that Bush-era officials roundly rejected.

“In fact, (Bush) says in his book, describes how he was briefed and intimately involved in this,” said Karl Rove, who served as his deputy chief of staff and closest adviser and who insisted that members of Congress who now maintain that they were not informed of the interrogation techniques earlier are not telling the truth.

Like Cheney, Rove defended specific techniques that many critics consider torture – insisting that instances of rectal feeding cited in the report occurred when prisoners refused to eat and undertook hunger strikes. During his interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Rove insisted that the report was flawed because the investigators did not talk to top intelligence officials.

“They simply didn’t talk to the people. They talked to no one,” he said. “They came to a predetermined conclusion before they ever began.”

Democrats who were on the congressional intelligence committees at the time have insisted that they were not given full briefings on the interrogation techniques being used.

“We came to learn very gradually about it,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who was on the Senate Intelligence Committee during the Bush administration and insisted that he and other committee members had begun drafting legislation to undermine and end practices such as waterboarding.

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