Bush vetoes intelligence bill restricting CIA interrogation tactics

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush said in his weekly radio address [transcript; recorded audio] Saturday that he has vetoed an intelligence funding bill [HR 2082 materials] that would restrict CIA interrogators to using only interrogation techniques explicitly authorized by the 2006 Army Field Manual. Though the US Senate approved [JURIST report] the measure on February 13, it failed to approve it by the two-thirds majority necessary to override a presidential veto. The US House agreed to the measure [JURIST report] in December. In explaining his veto, Bush said Saturday:

Limiting the CIA's interrogation methods to those in the Army Field Manual would be dangerous because the manual is publicly available and easily accessible on the Internet. Shortly after 9/11, we learned that key al Qaida operatives had been trained to resist the methods outlined in the manual. And this is why we created alternative procedures to question the most dangerous al Qaida operatives, particularly those who might have knowledge of attacks planned on our homeland. The best source of information about terrorist attacks is the terrorists themselves. If we were to shut down this program and restrict the CIA to methods in the Field Manual, we could lose vital information from senior al Qaida terrorists, and that could cost American lives.

The bill Congress sent me would not simply ban one particular interrogation method, as some have implied. Instead, it would eliminate all the alternative procedures we've developed to question the world's most dangerous and violent terrorists. This would end an effective program that Congress authorized just over a year ago.

The fact that we have not been attacked over the past six-and-a-half years is not a matter of chance. It is the result of good policies and the determined efforts of individuals carrying them out. We owe these individuals our thanks, and we owe them the authorities they need to do their jobs effectively.
Bush previously indicated his plans to veto the bill [JURIST report] in a BBC interview [transcript; recorded video] in February. Field Manual 2-22.3 [PDF text; press release], Human Intelligence Collector Operations, explicitly prohibits the use of waterboarding [JURIST news archive], electrocution, sensory deprivation, inducing hypothermia, or depriving the subject of food, water, or medical care. The 2006 manual also specifies that the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] apply to all detainees [JURIST report] and eliminates separate standards for the questioning of prisoners of war and enemy combatants. AP has more.


 

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