[Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 56 (Tuesday, April 23, 2013)]
[Pages S2894-S2895]

                       CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE

  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I rise to recognize an 
important anniversary--the 25th anniversary of the signing of the 
Convention Against Torture--and would like to do so in the context of 
the recent publication of an important report on the U.S. policies and 
programs put in place following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 
  After 9/11, Americans came together and set aside their differences. 
Those terrible events unified this country in a common desire to bring 
to justice those responsible and to do whatever was necessary to 
prevent future attacks.
  We have spent over a decade successfully reducing al Qaida's ranks, 
and--until last week--doing so without another major attack on U.S. 
soil. Yet there have been countless mistakes and costs incurred in the 
pursuit of these goals.
  One of these key mistakes is the program that the Central 
Intelligence Agency initiated after 9/11 to detain and interrogate 
terrorist subjects. The details of how this program came to be and how 
it was conducted are outlined in the Senate Intelligence Committee's 
6,000-page report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program--
based on a documentary review of over 6 million pages of CIA and other 
records and including 35,000 footnotes. In December I voted with a 
majority of my colleagues on the committee to report out the study and 
to send it to the CIA for its review and comments.
  I believe that the CIA's detention and interrogation program was 
severely flawed. It was mismanaged. The ``enhanced interrogation 
techniques'' were brutal. And perhaps most importantly, the program did 
not work. Nonetheless, it was portrayed to the White House, the 
Department of Justice, the Congress, and the media as a program that 
resulted in unique information that ``saved lives.''
  At his confirmation hearing, I urged CIA Director John Brennan to 
lead in correcting the false public record about the CIA's program and 
in instituting the necessary reforms to restore the CIA's reputation 
for integrity and analytical rigor. I firmly believe that the CIA 
cannot be its best until its leadership faces the serious and grievous 
mistakes of this program.
  Some say that by looking backward, we are focusing on ``archaeology'' 
to the exclusion of our national security interests today. I would 
argue that acknowledging the flaws of this program is essential for the 
CIA's long-term institutional integrity--as well as for the legitimacy 
of ongoing sensitive programs. The findings of this report directly 
relate to how other CIA programs are managed today.
  The CIA, the White House, and other agencies continue their review of 
the committee's report on the CIA's detention and interrogation 
program, and the Senate Intelligence Committee expects to see an 
official response soon. But this is not a report I can talk much about 
or share, since it remains classified.
  That is why I am thankful for the release of a report by the 
Constitution Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment. The task force 
was led by former Representative Asa Hutchison and former 
representative and retired Ambassador James Jones and made up of former 
high-ranking officials and experts from across the political spectrum. 
This was a 2-year effort, based on an examination of available public 
records as well as interviews with over 100 former detainees, military 
and intelligence officers, interrogators, and policymakers.
  In a news article on the report, Mr. Hutchison--who served in several 
roles in the Bush administration, including as undersecretary of the 
Department of Homeland Security--said that after researching this issue 
for nearly 2 years, ``he had no doubts about what the United States 
did.'' He concluded that ``it's incredibly important to have an 
accurate account not just of what happened but of how decisions were 
made.'' He added, ``The United States has a historic and unique 
character, and part of that character is that we do not torture.''
  I couldn't agree more with his sentiments. As one of the task force's 
contributors, former Ambassador Thomas

[[Page S2895]]

Pickering, states in a Washington Post opinion piece I will ask to have 
printed in the Record, ``Admitting our mistakes is the only legitimate 
basis on which we can reassure the world that America remains committed 
to the rule of law and to upholding human rights and democratic 
  I commend the report of the Constitution Project's Task Force to my 
colleagues. I also urge the administration to work closely with the 
Senate Intelligence Committee as it conducts its review of the 
Committee's report.
  In marking the 25th anniversary of President Reagan's signing of the 
international Convention Against Torture, I remind my colleagues and 
this administration that the government has an obligation to the 
American people to face its mistakes transparently, help the public 
understand the nature of those mistakes, and correct them. Director 
Brennan and this administration have an important task ahead in this 
  I ask unanimous consent that the article to which I referred be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objective the material was printed in the Record, as 

               [From the Washington Post, Apr. 16, 2013]

            America Must Atone for the Torture It Inflicted

                        (By Thomas R. Pickering)

       Thomas R. Pickering is a member of the Constitution 
     Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment. He was 
     undersecretary of state for political affairs from 1997 to 
     2001 and served as ambassador and representative to the 
     United Nations from 1989 to 1992.
       It's never easy in this volatile world to advance America's 
     strategic aims. For more than four decades, in the service of 
     Democratic and Republican presidents, it was often my job to 
     persuade foreign governments to adhere to international law 
     and observe the highest standards of conduct in human 
     rights--including the strict prohibition of torture. A report 
     released Tuesday by an independent task force on detainee 
     treatment (to which I contributed) makes it clear that U.S. 
     officials could have used the same advice.
       Unfortunately, the U.S. government's use of torture against 
     suspected terrorist, and its failure to fully acknowledge and 
     condemn it, has made the exercise of diplomacy far more 
     daunting. By authorizing and permitting torture in response 
     to a global terrorist threat, U.S. leaders committed a grave 
     error that has undermined our values, principles and moral 
     stature; eroded our global influence; and placed our 
     soldiers, diplomats and intelligence officers in even greater 
       It's not just the Bush-Cheney administration that bears 
     responsibility for diminished U.S. standing, although the 
     worst abuses undeniably took place in the years immediately 
     after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Obama administration 
     also has failed to be as open and accountable on such 
     fundamental questions of law, morality and principle as a 
     great power that widely supports human rights needs to be.
       What can be done to mitigate the damage and set this 
     country on a better course? First and foremost, Americans 
     need to confront the truth. Let's stop resorting to 
     euphemisms and call ``enhanced interrogation techniques''--
     including but not limited to waterboarding--what they 
     actually are: torture. Torturing detainees flies in the face 
     of principles and practices established in the founding of 
     our republic, and it violates U.S. law and international 
     treaties to which we are a party. Subjecting detainees to 
     torture, no matter how despicable their alleged crimes, runs 
     counter to the values embodied in the U.S. Constitution.
       Too much information about the abuse of detainees remains 
     hidden from the American people. Specifically, the Obama 
     administration's ongoing concealment of the details about our 
     use of torture has made it impossible for the United States 
     to comply with its legal obligations under the U.N. 
     Convention Against Torture and has contributed to a 
     disturbing level of public support for torturing suspected 
       President Obama should direct relevant officials to 
     declassify as many related documents as possible as quickly 
     as possible--starting with the more than 6 million pages of 
     classified documents that were the basis for the Senate 
     intelligence committee's recent report on the CIA's 
     interrogation program, and the still-secret report itself--so 
     that the American people may finally learn what was done in 
     our name. Admitting our mistakes is the only legitimate basis 
     on which we can reassure the world that America remains 
     committed to the rule of law and to upholding human rights 
     and democratic values.
       Second, Congress needs to work with the administration to 
     close the loopholes that allowed torture to occur under a 
     pretense of legality. In 2009, Obama signed an executive 
     order giving interrogators clear instructions about 
     permissible techniques. But future presidents could reverse 
     course with the stroke of a pen--and no public notice.
       To ensure that cannot happen, the federal Anti-Torture 
     Statute should be amended to make clear that the deliberate 
     infliction of severe pain and suffering is torture--
     regardless of the duration of the torment being inflicted. 
     The War Crimes Act should be amended to make clear that 
     cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees is a 
     federal crime even when it falls short of torture. Instead of 
     being told to rely on secret legal memos or doctors' 
     unethical monitoring of brutal interrogation sessions, 
     interrogators should be given unambiguous orders that all 
     detainees are to be treated in strict compliance with Common 
     Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which is the basic 
     provision of international law outlawing torture. And there 
     should be clear, public rules ensuring prompt access to 
     detainees by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
       Third, the United States must not transfer detainees to 
     torture in other countries. Such transfers, known as 
     ``renditions,'' have occurred under Presidents Bill Clinton, 
     George W. Bush and Obama--despite the fact that they violate 
     the Convention Against Torture. In part, this is because of a 
     policy of reliance on ``diplomatic assurances'' from other 
     countries that detainees would not be tortured, despite clear 
     evidence that these assurances were not credible. In part, 
     this is because the United States has refused to acknowledge 
     that the prohibition against transfers to torture is legally 
     binding outside of U.S. territory. Both must change.
       Democracy and torture cannot peacefully coexist in the same 
     body politic. Successful human rights diplomacy and torture 
     can't either. Our country and its place in the world--as well 
     as the Americans bravely serving in military, intelligence 
     and diplomatic posts around the globe--deserve nothing less.