Massimino: Don’t Turn Back Time on Torture

Washington, D.C. – Today, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino issued the following statement underscoring the importance of maintaining the nation’s ban on using torture as part of interrogations:

“The world needs the United States to stand as a beacon for human rights.  When we don’t live up to those ideals, people everywhere who struggle to advance the cause of human dignity are undermined.  As General David Petraeus has said so eloquently, ‘Adherence to our values distinguishes us from our enemy.’  Torture is illegal, immoral and undermines our national security.  It was a grave mistake to go down that road after 9/11, and it would be even more damaging—to our nation and to the values for which we stand—to go down it in reverse.” Massimino noted that while some have claimed that torture has gained the nation crucial intelligence information, there is no evidence to support that claim. For example, earlier this year, Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s Clandestine Services, claimed that torture led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. That assertion was quickly discredited by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, both of whom have access to records about the operation. They issued a joint statement to set the record straight:  “Statements made by Mr. Rodriguez and other former senior government officials about the role of the CIA interrogation program in locating Osama bin Laden (UBL) are inconsistent with CIA records.” “This is an area where being true to our values as Americans is not only the right thing to do, but the smart and strategic thing as well,” Massimino concluded. “The facts don’t lie. We know now that interrogations that adhere to the Army Field Manual produce better intelligence and strengthen our national security. Why would we ever return to policies that turn back the clock on that?”


Published on September 27, 2012


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