CIA INTERROGATIONS AND ARMY FIELD MANUAL -- (Senate - February 13, 2008)
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Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I oppose the conference report on the intelligence authorization bill.
I was troubled to learn the Intelligence Committees inserted in the conference report a provision to apply the Army Field Manual to the CIA program. This was done without any hearing or vote in either the House or the Senate.
I strongly regret the committee chose this course of action since it denies the Senate the opportunity to fully appreciate the implications of such a restriction on the CIA program.
It would be a colossal mistake for us to apply the Army Field Manual to the operations of the CIA. I have been briefed on the current CIA program to interrogate high value targets. It is aggressive, effective, lawful and in compliance with our legal obligations. Unfortunately, the intelligence authorization bill as currently drafted will destroy the CIA program.
I believe in flexibility for the CIA program within the boundaries of current law. The CIA must have the ability to gather intelligence for the war on terror. In this new war, knowledge of the enemy and its plan is vitally important and the Army Field Manual provision will weaken our intelligence gathering operations.
It is regrettable that the debate on the intelligence authorization bill has become a debate about waterboarding. Waterboarding is not part of the CIA program.
However, waterboarding, under any circumstances, represents a clear violation of U.S. law and it was the clear intent of Congress to prohibit this practice. In 2005 and 2006, the Senate overwhelmingly and in a bipartisan fashion stood up against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and abided by the Supreme Court's decision in the Hamdan case that that those in our custody are protected by the Geneva Conventions. Indeed, senior administration officials assured us that the language contained in the Military Commissions Act clearly outlawed waterboarding.
Imagine my surprise when the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence stated that waterboarding may be legal in certain circumstances. I cannot understand what legal reasoning could possibly lead them to this conclusion.
Given the Attorney General's recognition during his nomination hearing that the President cannot waive congressionally mandated restrictions on interrogation techniques, including those included in the McCain amendment and the Military Commissions Act, it is inexplicable that the administration not only has failed to publicly declare waterboarding illegal, but has actually indicated that it may be legal.
During the past several weeks we have heard many justifications for the administration's incomprehensible legal analysis. At the end of the day, it appears it is the view of the administration is that the ends justify the means and that adhering to our values, laws, and treaty obligations will weaken our nation. I strongly disagree.
I support aggressive interrogation of detainees in the in the war on terror. And the CIA program is a vital component in securing our Nation. As we interrogate and detain those who are intent on destruction of our country and all those who fight for liberty, we can never forget that we are, first and foremost, Americans. The laws and values that have built our Nation are a source of strength, not weakness, and we will win the war on terror not in spite of devotion to our cherished values but because we have held fast to them.
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