The truth on torture is coming with the imminent release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s landmark report on the use of CIA “enhanced interrogation techniques” during the Bush Administration. Those with a vested interest in defending torture are attempting to undermine the report with the same falsehoods and twisted truths.
On Monday, Liz Cheney went on Fox news to disparage the report and defend her father’s legacy. While it’s tempting to dismiss Cheney as a marginal pro-torture dead-ender, her talking points are popular among the cruelty crowd, so let’s take a look at her statements and counter them with truth.
1. Obama is “lying” about what the CIA did
This is presumably a repetition of the idea that “enhanced interrogation techniques” do not constitute torture. The fact is, they do. Waterboarding was considered torture long before the Bush administration authorized its use, and Senator John McCain – a former POW himself – testifies that waterboarding is indeed torture, as do a large group of bipartisan legislators. Republican Senator Collins and Independent Senator King wrote that the interrogation methods described in the report are “torture by anybody’s definition.” America tortured. Now we need to reckon with that fact.
2. Obama has spent too much time “targeting and going after” the CIA
The President has indeed condemned torture from the beginning and outlawed its use in an executive order. Unfortunately, however, he has shielded the CIA from prosecution and allowed it to oversee redactions of the Senate Intelligence Committee report. This hardly amounts to “targeting.”
3. Enhanced interrogation “kept us safe”
Interrogators have testified again and again that torture is counterproductive. It produces unreliable intelligence. It increases the will to resist. It corrodes the reputation of the United States and gives its enemies a priceless PR tool. And, unlike what many are claiming, torture did not help us catch Osama bin Laden.
4. The report is partisan and Democrats did not interview CIA officials
The SSCI report has had bipartisan support at every level. At its inception, both Republican and Democratic staff fully participated. Unfortunately Republican SSCI members withdrew when the Justice Department began criminal investigations into the CIA. Still a 11-3 bipartisan majority voted to declassify the report in April. The DOJ investigation also prevented the SSCI from interviewing CIA officials, as they would have required immunity in order to testify, thus compromising the criminal investigation. However, the committee reviewed hundreds of existing CIA interviews and over 6 million pages of contemporaneous documents.
5. CIA officials in charge of the torture program are “patriots”
The true patriots are those who stood up to the CIA and the administration to condemn the use of torture as it was happening. Heroes like Alberto Mora, Antonio Taguba, Ian Fishback, and Steven Kleinman condemned “enhanced interrogation” as illegal, un-American, and counterproductive. They deserve our praise and recognition.
Defenders of torture will say anything to hide the truth. Don’t believe their lies. Sign this petition to ask Congress to take action on torture and learn more about the Senate torture report with our FAQ’s and Fact Sheet.