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June 15, 2015

Partnership for a Secure America Shows that Yet More Experts Support an End to Torture

Last week, the Partnership for a Secure America released a statement supporting the use of the Army Field Manual as a single, government-wide standard of interrogation. Signatories include a host of former Senators and national security leaders from both parties.

The statement says that U.S. interrogation policy can simultaneously live up to American values and protect national security by preventing cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. The signatories agree that, “Such principles can be attained by following the U.S. Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. We believe these lawful, humane, and effective techniques will produce actionable intelligence while adhering to our founding principles.”

This statement is yet another example of support from former national security and interrogation experts for the new standards set out in the McCain-Feinstein-Collins-Reed anti-torture amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The bipartisan Amendment 1889 makes the Army Field Manual the standard for interrogation by all branches of the government and their agents. The Army Field Manual does not allow most of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that the CIA notoriously used in its 9/11 interrogation program. The amendment also mandates periodic review of the Army Field Manual to ensure that all the techniques it describes are supported by the most recent science on effective, humane interrogation.

Signatories to the statement include former U.S. Senators David Durenberger (R-MN), Gary Hart (D-CO), Carl Levin (D-MI), Richard Lugar (R-IN), David Boren (D-OK, and former governor of Oklahoma), Charles Robb (D-VA, and former governor of Virginia), and Ken Salazar (D-CO, and former Secretary of the Interior); former congressmen Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lee Hamilton (D-IN); former Secretary of State George Schultz; former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; former Secretaries of Defense Harold Brown and William Perry; former Deputy Secretary of Defense William H. Taft IV; former Ambassador to the United Nations Donald McHenry; former National Security Advisor Robert C. MacFarlane; former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills; former President of the Century Foundation Richard C. Leone; former Governor of New Jersey and 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean; and Chair of the International Peace Institute Rita Hauser.

This amendment is a crucial step in ensuring an end to torture in the United States. As national security experts have confirmed time and time again, torture is ineffective, illegal, and immoral. It is time to make sure it never happens again.