Senator John McCain brought up torture with Vice President Joe Biden this weekend in a candid conversation about U.S. policy at the Sedona Forum 2013.
“We should expose those abuses of human rights committed by the United States, hold people responsible, and make sure that this kind of thing never happen again,” McCain said.
McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been a vocal supporter of the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-page report on post-9/11 CIA interrogation and detention program.
And the Vice President agreed with him—joining other national security experts who have called for the release of the report. “I think the only way you exorcise the demons is that you acknowledge exactly what happened straightforward,“ Biden said.
This report—based on three years of research, including a review of 6 million pages of official records—remains classified and is currently with the Obama administration for review. Those who have read the report say that it shows the CIA torture program was much more widespread and cruel than we thought, and much less effective at gathering actionable intelligence than torture proponents claim. Now, the review process is being delayed.
As the second anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death approaches, we’re seeing torture proponents come back to the limelight once again to argue that torture saved American lives and make the case for its return. Condoleezza Rice said last week at the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Library that because of torture, “we have not had a successful attack on our territory.”
This is false. Even Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has debunked this claim. The overwhelming majority of professional interrogators say they do not need to use torture to make suspects talk and that its use only undermined U.S. moral credibility. Torture has not only risked American lives, it has but also served as a recruiting tool for terrorists.
It’s time for us to end this debate and base our national security policies based on facts, not fiction. It’s time to release the torture report.