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January 16, 2015

Releasing the Senate Torture Report

In 2004, we assembled a groundbreaking coalition of retired military generals and admirals who know firsthand that American ideals are a national security asset. They worked with Senator McCain in 2005 to pass a global ban on cruel treatment of detainees, and stood behind President Obama in the Oval office in 2009 when he signed an executive order banning torture.

But most of the information about U.S. torture after 9/11 was still classified, allowing torture proponents to spin falsehoods and denying the country the public reckoning it needed. So we pushed for release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program. The report, released in December 2014, reveals that the CIA’s torture was far more brutal and prevalent than previously disclosed and that it was ineffective as an intelligence-gathering technique.

We were instrumental in the report’s release. Working alongside the coalition of retired military leaders and a group of professional interrogators, we pressed Senators on the committee, secured support for release from Vice President Joe Biden and other influential figures, mobilized citizen activists, and launched a truth-telling campaign that included op-eds, letters-to-the-editor, blueprints, fact-sheets, and video, and print ads.

The report’s release, one of 2014’s biggest national security news stories, is part of our effort to rebuild a strong national consensus against torture. Now we’re continuing the fight by pursuing legislation that solidifies the ban against torture.