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June 11, 2015

National Security Experts Speak Out on Anti-Torture Legislation

By Katherine Ryan

This week, more than twenty retired military leaders and interrogators came to Washington D.C. to broaden support for important new legislation that would solidify the ban on torture. They met with senators from both sides of the aisle to share their firsthand experiences and explain why torture is ineffective in gaining actionable intelligence.

The bill, introduced yesterday by Senator McCain and Senator Feinstein, would ensure that no future administration authorizes torture and other cruelty that violates domestic or international law.

While in Washington, these retired military leaders and interrogation experts have also taken time to sit down with reporters to discuss this landmark legislation, and why they’re in D.C. supporting its passage. 

In talking with The Daily Beast, former CIA interrogator Glenn Carle argued that the U.S. government, not the whim of men, should direct interrogations. Retired three-star general, Ed Soyster, echoed Carle’s call for stronger, clearer legislation regarding torture during the same discussion.

In a conversation with Vice News, former federal agent and interrogator, Mark Fallon, praised the amendment for its commitment to scientific and lawful techniques in interrogation.

When talking with Newsweek, Fallon—along with former interrogator and intelligence expert, Steve Kleinman—further advocated data-proven approaches to interrogation—which, they said, are far more effective than torture. 

Whether in Hill briefings or reporter meetings, the message from these retired military leaders and interrogators is clear: the McCain-Feinstein Amendment is a giant step away from torture and towards effective interrogation.  Mark Fallon highlights the ultimate goal of the group, telling a Vice reporter, “We want to make sure we take torture off the table — it's illegal and something we should never consider again."