U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Anti-Torture Amendment to NDAA
Senate Approves McCain, Reed, Feinstein, and Collins provision to ensure torture is not part of U.S. national security policy
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate voted 78-21 in favor of a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to ban the use of torture as an interrogation technique. The amendment, authored by Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI), as well as senior members of the Intelligence Committee, Vice-Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), will help ensure torture is not part of U.S. national security policy.
The amendment strengthens the legal prohibition against torture and codifies certain aspects of a 2009 executive order signed by President Obama, effectively barring all U.S. government officials from using interrogation techniques that are not authorized by and listed in the U.S. Army Field Manual.
“The use of torture is abhorrent and stands in stark contrast to our constitution and values. It is not an effective tool to obtain reliable intelligence. As we continue to confront the threat of terrorism at home and abroad, we are reminded that we are stronger as a nation when we remain true to our democratic principles,” stated Reed. “I commend Chairman McCain for speaking out and taking action to prohibit the use of torture. Senator McCain reminds us that we must adhere to our highest ideals and that the safety and lives of our own soldiers are at stake here. Torture is illegal and this measure will help ensure our nation doesn’t repeat past mistakes and has the right tools and procedures in place to effectively gather actionable intelligence.”
The amendment would also require that the Army Field Manual be reviewed every three years, with possible revisions, and that it be used as the standard for all government interrogations.