Press Releases

Senator Feinstein to Introduce 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 – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced her plans  to introduce an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act that would require the CIA to follow the Army Field Manual’s rules on interrogations.

Senator Feinstein will seek to add the amendment today during a markup of the intelligence bill at U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The amendment is co-sponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

On February 13, Congress passed legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein, Hagel, Whitehouse, and Feingold that would have required the CIA to follow the Army Field Manual’s rules on interrogations. It specifically would have prohibited waterboarding and other forms of coercive interrogation techniques. President Bush vetoed the bill on March 8.

“In February Congress passed a bipartisan bill to ban waterboarding and other coercive techniques once and for all, but the President vetoed the legislation,” Senator Feinstein said. “I believe the veto was a tremendous mistake. And so at the time we vowed to come back – again and again if necessary – to ensure that torture by U.S. intelligence agencies is outlawed for good. That’s why we’re here today.

“Torture is a black eye against the United States. It violates U.S. and international law and the Geneva Conventions. It drives a wedge between us and our allies, and makes the war on terror harder to fight. Bottom line: It has hurt America’s reputation in the world, and it makes the world a more dangerous place for American troops.

“This legislation will help restore America’s credibility abroad by establishing a single, uniform standard for the interrogation of detainees in our custody. It will ensure that the practices of America’s intelligence services are aligned with the ideals upon which this great nation was founded. And it will ensure that the United States follows the law – including the Geneva Conventions, the Conventions Against Torture, and the Detainee Treatment Act. With this legislation, the United States will never again engage in waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques. ” 

Senator Feinstein’s amendment 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.