For Immediate Release: February 5, 2009
Washington, DC – At his confirmation hearing this afternoon Leon Panetta, who has been nominated to head the CIA, agreed to work to release to the public information about the full national security impact of the Bush administration’s authorization of so-called “enhanced” interrogation techniques. Mr. Panetta elaborated that while some have alleged that coercive techniques worked to produce intelligence, one needed to consider whether there was misinformation elicited and whether the damage done to our nation’s larger interests by employing these techniques counterbalanced any information that might have been gained.
“Mr. Panetta is clearly listening to interrogation experts who have long insisted that coercive techniques are counterproductive,” stated Devon Chaffee, Advocacy Counsel at Human Rights First. “He has rightly embraced the belief that we need not choose between our ideals and our safety and that we are a stronger nation when we abide by the law.”
In his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Mr. Panetta also stated that he suspected that the United States had rendered individuals to ill-treatment and that the Executive Order signed by President Obama on January 22 prohibited extraordinary rendition.
On Guantanamo, Mr. Panetta speculated that there may be detainees that the US will continue to detain indefinitely without trial. “The Obama administration should refrain from making premature assertions about Guantanamo prisoners,” stated Deborah Colson, Acting Director of the Law and Security Program. “To make a clean break with Bush era detainee policies, the review process established by the President’s order should be conducted with the intent to bring to justice those who we want to continue to imprison.”