Jun 16 2015
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate voted today to accept amendment #1889, sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, that would reaffirm the prohibition on torture and ensure that every U.S. government agency always applies the same effective, humane interrogation standards as the U.S. military. Specifically, the amendment would make the Army Field Manual the standard for all U.S. government personnel when interrogating foreign terrorist detainees, and guarantee the International Committee of the Red Cross access to foreign detainees held by the U.S. government, which is longstanding U.S. military practice.
Senator McCain spoke about the amendment on the Senate floor this morning, and released the following statement on the amendment’s passage by a 78-21 vote:
“I believe past interrogation policies compromised our values, stained our national honor, and did little practical good. This amendment provides greater assurances that never again will the United States follow that dark path of sacrificing our values for our short-term security needs.
“I know that such practices don’t work. I also know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners does not produce good, reliable intelligence. Victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it.
“Our enemies act without conscience. We must not. Now, let us reassert the contrary proposition: that is it essential to our success in this war that we ask those who fight it for us to remember at all times that they are defending a sacred ideal of how nations should be governed and conduct their relations with others – even our enemies.”