For Immediate Release: December 12, 2012
Washington, DC – Twenty-six of the nation’s most respected retired military leaders today urged the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) to adopt a report on CIA interrogation and detention practices and to make it public with as few redactions as possible. The Committee is planning to vote on the report’s adoption tomorrow, December 13.
“As retired generals and admirals, we know that torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment produces unreliable results and often impedes further intelligence collection,” the retired military leaders stated in a letter today. “Torture is unlawful, immoral, and counterproductive.” The signatories also commended the Committee for its completion of the report.
Tomorrow’s vote occurs as the country continues to grapple with the use of torture in our nation’s history. Next week American moviegoers will watch “Zero Dark Thirty,” which provides a fictionalized account of how the United States carried out the bin Laden operation. However high-ranking officials, including Leon Panetta, former interrogators, and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairman of the SSCI Committee, continue to debunk claims that torture provided any actionable intelligence for the mission.
The 6,000+ page CIA Torture Report, if released to the public, will formally set the record straight on the role that torture played in gaining actionable intelligence and impacting U.S. national security interests. As the letter states, “The Committee’s comprehensive review into the CIA detention and interrogation program will demonstrate the negative impact of torture on our national security and stand as a testament against those who urge otherwise.”
One of the letter’s signatories, Brigadier General David R. Irvine (Ret.), a former interrogator and instructor, participated in a conference call yesterday in which he said of the CIA Torture Report, “[It] won’t be made into a Hollywood movie but it will be enormously valuable to the next generation of leaders who need to understand at the very highest levels that democracy and torture cannot exist in the same body politic.”
The letter’s signatories are part of a larger group of retired generals and admirals who speak out against torture and work to ensure that U.S. policy reflects a single standard of prisoner treatment consistent with the Geneva Conventions. The group worked closely with Senator McCain in 2005 to pass the Detainee Treatment Act which banned torture and limited lawful interrogation to techniques listed in the Army Field Manual. In 2008, they shared their insights with eight Presidential candidates from both parties that torture does immense harm to the reputation of the United States and undermines efforts to combat terrorism.