A top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell has launched a stinging attack on US Vice-President Dick Cheney over abuse of prisoners by US troops.
Col Lawrence Wilkerson accused Mr Cheney of ignoring a decision by President Bush on the treatment of prisoners in the war on terror.
He said that there were two sides of the debate within the Bush administration over the treatment of prisoners.
Mr Powell and more dovish members had argued for sticking to the Geneva conventions, which prohibit the torture of detainees.
Dick Cheney has been accused of advocating the use of terror
Meanwhile, the other side "essentially wanted to do away with all restrictions".
Mr Bush agreed a compromise, that "Geneva would in fact govern all but al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda look-alike detainees".
"What I'm saying is that, under the vice-president's protection, the secretary of defence [Donald Rumsfeld] moved out to do what they wanted in the first place, even though the president had made a decision that was clearly a compromise," Col Wilkerson said.
He said that he laid the blame on the issue of prisoner abuse and post-war planning for Iraq "pretty fairly and squarely" at Mr Cheney's feet.
"I look at the relationship between Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld as being one that produced these two failures in particular, and I see that the president is not holding either of them accountable... so I have to lay some blame at his feet too," he went on.
David Corn has more.