December 9, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo Counties) issued the following statement today on the release of a Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing CIA interrogation and detention policies:
“First, I want to honor the courage and integrity of Senator Feinstein and her staff. They recognized the importance of bringing this report to the American people. Senator Feinstein refused to be bullied by the intelligence community and other Senators. To those who think this report jeopardizes national security, they should know it isn’t the report, but the actions taken by the CIA described in the report that have created this danger.
“What the CIA calls ‘enhanced interrogation’ cannot be considered anything but torture. The lessons of this report are grotesque in their clarity: torture doesn’t work, the CIA purposely misled top government officials and the public about the nature and scope of this program. The techniques were far more brutal than any of us had previously thought and run completely counter to our values.
“Many of the techniques used by the CIA were designed simply to harm and traumatize detainees, not gain intelligence. These practices include “rectal rehydration”, suspending individuals from the ceiling while they are forced to defecate on themselves, and forcing detainees with leg injuries into stress positions. These practices are disgusting, and as a nation we are better than this.
“Beyond the conduct itself, these CIA programs were wrapped in secrecy and lies. The CIA actively misled the Senate, the President, the DOJ, the State Department, and the public on how many people were detained and tortured, as well as the methods used. They selectively leaked classified information to bolster their own reputation and misdirect valid criticisms of the program. They used millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to bribe our allies to host the black sites to house these programs.
“Contrary to what our intelligence community has insisted over the last decade, these techniques have not saved lives. They have only undermined our moral authority, and our ability to protect human rights around the world. To those who think this report jeopardizes national security, they should know it isn’t the report, but the actions taken by the CIA described in the report that have created this danger.
“This report brings to light a dark chapter in our nation’s history, a chapter that looks even darker than we had previously known. Most of all, this report serves as a reminder that we cannot allow acts of terror to undermine our core American values of dignity, due process, and human rights. This is exactly the goal of terror, to push us away from those values that make our nation great.
“The American people deserve to know what has been done in the name of protecting their freedom. They deserve to know about these horrifying practices so we can start necessary reforms, and establish oversight mechanisms to ensure a program like this can never exist again.”