Outgoing Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein will propose new legislation next Congress to prevent future Administrations from approving torture.
Outlined in a letter to President Obama on Dec. 30, the measures would prohibit the intelligence community from using enhanced interrogation techniques like water-boarding that aren’t listed in the Army Field Manual or allow the CIA to hold detainees on anything other than a short-term basis. The moves would give legislative backing to previous executive orders signed into law by Obama in 2009 and “close all torture loopholes,” according to the letter.
Last month, Feinstein and other Democrats on the Intelligence Committee released its five-year report describing the George W. Bush Administration’s EITs as ineffective.
“These recommendations are intended to make sure that the United States never again engages in actions that you have acknowledged were torture,” she wrote, according to a statement released Monday.
Republicans, which will formally take over the Senate today, rebutted Feinstein’s torture report as a partisan affair and are unlikely to move on her proposals, which include other recommendations to increase executive and congressional oversight over the intelligence community. Republicans have also pointed to a December Washington Post-ABC poll which showed that a majority of Americans think that the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists was justified and that it would be in the future.
Without legislation, the anti-torture actions approved by President Obama could be overturned by a future president with the stroke of a pen.