A Pentagon report last year argued that President George W Bush was not bound by laws banning the use of torture, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The document also argued that torturers acting under presidential orders could not be prosecuted, the paper said.
The report was written by military and civilian lawyers for US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
It came after staff at Guantanamo Bay complained normal interrogation tactics were not eliciting enough information.
I can't help but speculate that, for the Bush regime, and Bush in particular, torture was a solution looking for a problem. The man who mocked Karla Faye Tucker, that man revealed the inner Bush, and what has happened since should have been predictable.