Press Releases

“I’d like to make a comment on the hearing that I was holding on Tuesday. There are four of us on this Committee that serve on the Intelligence Committee – three of us on this side, and Senator Hatch on the Republican side.  

And so we have been informed in a classified manner on the CIA’s views and actions with respect to what they call ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’  

And the Department of Justice’s Inspector General came out with a very interesting report, and that report essentially said that as early as 2002, FBI personnel were sending messages to the home office, indicating what was going on at Guantanamo, and indicating that they did not consider it effective, and they felt it violated laws.  

I put in the record a supervisory FBI agent’s memorandum to Mr. Marion Bowman – which took some six months to get where it was supposed to go – but nonetheless stated this unequivocally. And that is in the record for anyone to look at. 

It was a very interesting hearing. The CIA does its ‘enhanced interrogation’ through contractors. I’m one that’s looked at this, and I believe what the CIA is doing is wrong.

So, we have this FBI testimony -- that in 2002 Director Mueller ordered his agents not to participate in any interrogation that went on at Guantanamo. I thought it was a very interesting concept to try to develop. And where the orders came from for some of this interrogation was also an interesting concept to try and delineate.

So, the purpose of the hearing was to hear from the Inspector General, Mr. Fine. I asked Mr. Mueller to come. He couldn’t. He sent their Chief Counsel, and she testified. And then we had votes at 11, as you know. And I said the Committee will reconvene at 2 p.m.

And there is a gentleman, a law professor in London that we had asked to come across the ocean for the hearing. He had interviewed a number of people in the Administration, and I felt had some very interesting information to present to the Committee.

Senator Specter submitted a witness, Professor Phil Heymann, who also testified, and we had a former FBI agent by the name of Jack Cloonan, who had interrogated at least six members of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda. He got convictions for three of them, and was able to get actionable intelligence from every one of them by using non-coercive techniques. I thought that was very relevant information.

Well, 2 p.m. comes, and I learned from the floor that there’s been objection to just the Judiciary Committee’s proceeding with the hearing. I said, ‘Well, what other hearings are going on?’ My hearing was the only hearing. So my hearing was stopped dead in its track.

I spoke to the Leader, Senator Reid. He went to the floor and recessed the Senate, so that we could proceed with the hearing. This was a bona fide Committee, which put together with some care and concern a hearing on a major topic, and it is stopped dead because somebody doesn’t like what a witness may be saying. It isn’t right.

And I just want to appeal to the other side to cease and desist. The Supreme Court right now is in the process of issuing a decision on the Military Commissions Act, and whether it violates Guantanamo detainees’ habeas rights. We are told that the decision is that they do have rights, and it’s a 5-4 decision, with Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas dissenting.

Justice Kennedy has written the opinion. I want to quote just one part of it: 

          ‘The laws and Constitution are designed to survive,
           and remain in force in extraordinary times.’

I think that’s a very important statement. 

I think it’s entirely appropriate for this Committee to have a hearing on the FBI. We have oversight responsibility of the FBI, and to try to also bring in corroborating testimony from elsewhere. So, I didn’t think this would happen in the Senate, and I hope it doesn’t happen in the future. I believe it is really counterproductive, and I would appeal sincerely to my colleagues to abate it.”

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