Leading Rights Group Rejects AG’s Testimony On Waterboarding, Legality of CIA Program
WASHINGTON— In response to Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Elisa Massimino, Washington Director of Human Rights First, issued the following statement:
“If Attorney General Michael Mukasey thinks there are circumstances under which waterboarding is legal, that’s all the more reason Congress should not defer to his judgment on the legality of any other interrogation technique used in the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program.
The Attorney General’s evasive testimony today makes it impossible for the American people or the world to know what the United States means when it says that it does not torture, placing at risk the integrity of the humane treatment standards on which our own personnel — military and civilian — rely.
Although Attorney General Mukasey asserted that waterboarding is not part of the CIA interrogation program today, he acknowledged that tomorrow all that could change. Nor has the Attorney General assured us that the CIA is no longer engaged in other cruel and patently illegal practices such as sleep deprivation, beating, sexual humiliation and stress positions. Congress should act immediately to reinforce our laws which already ban torture, and require the CIA and all government intelligence agencies and contractors to abide by the interrogation rules set out in the Army Field Manual.”