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Congress Approves Feinstein-Hagel-Whitehouse Measure Requiring CIA to Follow the Army Field Manual in Interrogations

-Measure prohibits waterboarding, other coercive methods for all U.S. government agencies-

Washington, DC – Congress today approved legislation by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) that would require the CIA to follow the Army Field Manual’s rules on interrogations. 

The legislation, which now goes to the President, will establish uniform standards on interrogation of detainees for all parts of the U.S. government.  It prohibits waterboarding and other forms of coercive interrogation techniques. 

“Today, the Senate stood tall and declared in a strong voice that the United States will not engage in torture,” Senator Feinstein said. “This is an historic moment, and I strongly urge the President to sign it into law.  This legislation will require the CIA to follow the Army Field Manual’s protocols on interrogations. It will help restore America’s credibility abroad by establishing a single, uniform standard for the interrogation of detainees in our custody.  No longer will the United States allow actions by its intelligence services which clash so sharply with the very ideals upon which this nation was founded. This legislation ensures that the United States will follow the law – the Geneva Conventions, the Conventions Against Torture, and the Detainee Treatment Act.  Only by living up to our principles can we regain credibility in the eyes of the world. The President should sign this bill into law.” 

“Effective and aggressive intelligence operations are essential to our security, and the techniques authorized in the Army Field Manual gives our interrogators all the tools they need.  Congress must be explicit in how the United States defines acceptable standards of interrogation,” Senator Hagel said.  “We are in a war of ideas against a radical extremist ideology.  It is important the world believes that the United States holds itself to a high standard of conduct in all matters.  There must be no doubt in the world that this great nation does not torture.”

“Torture is ineffective, unnecessary, and wrong, and it’s dangerous to all those who serve the United States of America in harm’s way,” Senator Whitehouse said. “It should never, ever be used by any person who represents this country, or any agency that flies our flag, and this vote should ensure that it never will be.  Now, President Bush must stand with us, and not with the torturers of the Khmer Rouge or the Inquisitors of Spain.  I hope the President will sign this legislation and commit his administration to follow it.”

The measure was included as an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization bill, which was approved today by the Senate. 

          The provision reads: 

“No individual in the custody or under the effective control of an element of the intelligence community or instrumentality thereof, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations.” 

It specifically requires the CIA and all other U.S. intelligence agencies to follow the Army Field Manual’s protocols on interrogations. 

The Army Field Manual specifically prohibits eight interrogation techniques: 

  • Forcing a detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts, pose in sexual manner;
  • Placing hoods or sacks over the head of a detainee, duct tape over the eyes;
  • Beatings, electric shock, burns or other forms of physical pain;
  • Waterboarding;
  • Use of military working dogs;
  • Introducing hypothermia or heat injury;
  • Conducting mock executions; and
  • Depriving detainee of necessary food, water, or medical care. 

The Army Field Manual allows 19 interrogation approaches, mainly based on psychological techniques, such as making a detainee believe that cooperation will shorten the length of a war and therefore save his country.