The AP reports that Congress has decided to take on the Bush Administration’s authorization of CIA interrogation techniques that go beyond what the military has authorized. If this bill passes, techniques such as waterboarding would be prohibited across the board.
House and Senate negotiators working on an intelligence bill have agreed to limit CIA interrogators to techniques approved by the military, which would effectively bar them from using such harsh methods as waterboarding, congressional aides said Wednesday.
Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees decided to include the ban while working out differences in their respective bills authorizing 2008 spending for intelligence programs, according to the aides, who spoke anonymously because the negotiations were private. Details of the bill are to be made public Thursday.
That will set the stage for another veto fight with President Bush, who last summer issued an executive ordered allowing the CIA to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” that go beyond what’s allowed in the 2006 Army Field Manual.
Here’s HRF’s Elisa Massimino’s take on why a single standard for the military and the CIA is so important:
“There should be no daylight between the humane treatment standards that the military lives by and those applicable to the CIA. Experienced interrogators have repeatedly said that the Army Field Manual gives them everything they need to get actionable intelligence from dangerous prisoners.”
The White House has already weighed in with a veto threat:
White House spokesman Tony Fratto issued a statement saying, “if that provision is in the bill, it would make a bad bill worse. We had a veto message on a similar provision in the House’s supplemental funding bill. The CIA program has provided valuable, actionable intelligence that has allowed us to find and capture terrorists and prevent attacks. Efforts to weaken this program are dangerous and misguided.” (Congressional Quarterly)
Senate Republicans could aslo block the bill from even reaching the President’s desk.