From the BBC
The CIA has for the first time publicly admitted using the controversial method of "waterboarding" on terror suspects.
CIA director Michael Hayden told Congress however that it had only been used on three people, and not at all for the past five years.
He said the technique had been used on high-profile al-Qaeda detainees including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
Mr Hayden was speaking as National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell presented his annual threat assessment.
Waterboarding is an interrogation technique in which the detainee is put in fear of drowning.
Some critics describe it as torture and Congress has been debating banning its use by the CIA.
President Bush has threatened to veto such a bill.
In the recent past, US national intelligence chief Mike McConnell has said the interrogation technique of water-boarding "would be torture" if he were subjected to it.
Mr McConnell said it would also be torture if water-boarding, which involves simulated drowning, resulted in water entering a detainee's lungs.
He told the New Yorker there would be a "huge penalty" for anyone using it if it was ever determined to be torture.
The US attorney-general has declined to rule on whether the method is torture.
However, Michael Mukasey said during his Senate confirmation hearing that water-boarding was "repugnant to me" and that he would institute a review.