Bush seeks to circumvent the just-enacted and plainly worded legal prohibiton on torture by reserve the right to interpret the prohibition as he sees fit. In particular, the president would "reserve the right to use harsher methods [namely, torture] in special situations involving national security", in the words of an unnamed official.
Bush could bypass new torture ban - The Boston Globe
After approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ''signing statement" -- an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law -- declaring that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said.
''The executive branch shall construe [the law] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President . . . as Commander in Chief," Bush wrote, adding that this approach ''will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President . . . of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks."
Some legal specialists said yesterday that the president's signing statement, which was posted on the White House website but had gone unnoticed over the New Year's weekend, raises serious questions about whether he intends to follow the law.