Senate panel approves bill on treatment of terror detainees, defying Bush

A rebellious Senate committee defied President George W. Bush on Thursday and approved terror-detainee legislation he has vowed to block, deepening Republican conflict over a key issue in the middle of congressional election campaigns.

Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, pushed the measure through his panel by a 15-9 vote, with Warner and three other Republican lawmakers joining opposition Democrats. The tally set the stage for a showdown on the Senate floor as early as next week.

The vote came on the same day Bush journeyed to Congress to try nailing down support for his own version of the legislation, reports AP.

"I will resist any bill that does not enable this program to go forward with legal clarity," Bush told reporters at the White House after his meeting with lawmakers.

The president's measure would go further than the Senate package in allowing classified evidence to be withheld from defendants in terror trials, using coerced testimony and protecting U.S. interrogators against legal prosecution for using methods that violate the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of war prisoners.