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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2007

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

I would like to enter into a colloquy with Mr. Murtha, and I would invite participation of the chairman if he is so inclined, because I have an issue that I hope the conferees will consider when they meet to work out the final version of the bill.

Specifically, I would like to ask that the conferees examine the need to include funding to provide for the videotaping of interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody.

Now, as Members of this House know, I have before the House a bill that would, if enacted, require that all interactions between detainees at Guantanamo and similar facilities and U.S. personnel be videotaped. Videotaping interrogations would not only help deter any claims of actual or potential abuse of detainees, but just as importantly, it would protect the interrogators from false accusations of abuse.

Indeed, across this country, including in my own district, many police departments routinely videotape interrogations for precisely these reasons. It is a powerful and effective tool for protecting both the interrogator and the one being interrogated.

Additionally, videotaping interrogations would ensure that the maximum possible intelligence value is gained during and after the interrogation sessions. If analysts and linguists have the chance to review videotaped interrogations, they have additional opportunities to evaluate both the quality of the information gleaned from the interrogation, but they will also be able to look for body language and other clues about the truthfulness of the person being interrogated.

And I should mention that the legislation I have and what we are talking about here has been endorsed by a variety of groups as an effective way to conduct interrogations with the protections of all involved, and I know they would be supportive of the conferees acting on this request. I hope that I can have the cooperation of my friend from Pennsylvania.


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