Washington, D.C. – Today James Comey, President Obama’s nominee for Director of the FBI, testified during his nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee as to the legality of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. In response, Human Rights First’s Dixon Osburn has issued the following statement:
“Mr. Comey has come up short by failing to fully reject the legality of the enhanced interrogation techniques he once endorsed during the Bush Administration. Though he testified that waterboarding is torture and pledged that he would not endorse waterboarding if confirmed as the next Director of the FBI, Mr. Comey declined to reject any of the legal analysis supporting the torture techniques employed during the Bush Administration.
“Mr. Comey’s assertion that the 1994 torture statue was vague is simply inconsistent with the significant domestic and international legal authorities, including the Geneva Conventions, that the enhanced interrogation techniques he endorsed constitute torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Mr. Comey must reject the Office of Legal Counsel memos he once endorsed if the public is to have faith that he will make decisions regarding torture consistent with the rule of law. Mr. Comey should also follow the advice of Senators Whitehouse and Feinstein and back the public release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s study on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program.”
Human Rights First praised members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), for their aggressive questioning on the issue of torture. As the hearing continues, the organization urges committee members to expect more from Comey.