Senate Floor Statement on the Army Field Manual Provision in the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report: 02/13/08

I urge my colleagues to support the Intelligence Authorization conference report which includes a requirement that all government agencies, including the CIA, comply with the Army Field Manual on Interrogations in the treatment and interrogation of detainees.

The result will be a single standard of treatment for detainees, a standard consistent with American values and international standards. The Army Field Manual is consistent with our obligations under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits subjecting detainees to “cruel treatment and torture.” This is the standard to which our soldiers are trained and which they live by.

Consistent with this standard, the Army Field Manual specifically prohibits certain interrogation techniques. These include:

  • Forced nudity;
  • “Waterboarding,” that is, inducing the sensation of drowning;
  • Using military working dogs in interrogations;
  • Subjecting detainees to extreme temperatures; and
  • Mock executions.

Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has insisted that it reserves the right for the CIA to engage in certain “enhanced interrogation techniques.” It has been reported that these CIA techniques include “waterboarding.” While this Justice Department continues to refuse to say one way or the other, let there be no doubt: waterboarding is torture.

The Judge Advocates General of all four services have told us unequivocally that waterboarding is illegal. Requiring that all government agencies comply with the standards of the Army Field Manual is not mushy intellectualism. It’s hard-headed pragmatism. When we fail to live up to our own standards for humane treatment, we compromise our moral authority. Our security depends on the willingness of others to work with us and share information, information which could prevent the next attack. When we project moral hypocrisy, we lose the support of the world in the fight against the extremists. Requiring a single standard for the treatment of detainees consistent with the Army Field Manual protects our men and women in uniform, should they be captured. It strengthens our hand in demanding that American prisoners be treated humanely, consistent with values embodied in the Field Manual. I urge my colleagues to support the Intelligence Authorization conference report with the provision that standards in the Army Field Manual for treatment of detainees will apply to all elements of the intelligence community.