Human Rights First, Former Navy Judge Advocate General Praise Senate Passage of McCain Amendment to Reform U.S. Interrogation Policy
Urge House to Adopt Senate Language & White House to Withdraw Veto Threat
Washington, DC –– Human Rights First and a former Navy Judge Advocate General this afternoon praised the Senate for its passage this evening of an amendment by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to the defense bill that would help steer U.S. interrogation policy back on course and prevent future abuses. When the Senate debated the McCain amendment this morning, only Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, objected to it.
The McCain amendment would make the Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogations binding interrogation policy for all those in military custody, and would reinforce the ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees, which the Administration now asserts does not apply to U.S. actions abroad.
“The Senate should be commended for responding to the call from American men and women in uniform for clarity and integrity in interrogation policy,” said Elisa Massimino, Washington Director of Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights). “Senator McCain’s amendment offers Congress the opportunity to steer U.S. policy back on course, by making clear that torture and other cruel treatment will not be tolerated. The House should seize this opportunity and accept the Senate language, and the White House should withdraw its veto threat.”
“This is a situation where what is good for our troops is also in line with our values as Americans,” said Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, U.S. Navy (Ret.), who served as the Navy’s Judge Advocate General from 1997 to 2000. Admiral Hutson was also one of 28 retired military leaders who wrote a letter to Sen. McCain in support of the amendment.
“Getting our interrogation policies back on track will preserve our standing to fight for humane treatment of American soldiers who are captured in future combat operations, and it will help put our security efforts back on the moral high ground.”