Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed (as well as RI Senator Sheldon Whitehouse) voted to confirm Mike Pompeo as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Mike Pompeo supports torture.
“If experts believed current law [regarding water boarding] was an impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country, I would want to understand such impediments and whether any recommendations were appropriate for changing current law,” Mike Pompeo wrote.
“If confirmed, I will consult with experts at the agency and at other organizations in the U.S. government on whether the Army Field Manual uniform application [which currently disallows torture] is an impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country or whether any rewrite of the Army Field Manual is needed,” Pompeo wrote.
“Mike Pompeo’s confirmation is a clear sign that Congress has not done enough ‘extreme vetting’ of President [Donald] Trump‘s nominees’ views on human rights,” said Amnesty USA‘s executive director Margaret Huang. “While Pompeo sailed through his confirmation hearing, his written answers to the Senate contradict his earlier testimony and could lay the groundwork for the agency to return to torture and secret detention. Torture is a war crime and a grave human rights violation. Moving forward, Congress needs to aggressively scrutinize Pompeo’s CIA to ensure there is no backsliding into torture in the name of security.”
Within 48 hours of Pompeo’s confirmation, Trump’s torture document was released.
“The Trump administration is preparing a sweeping executive order that would clear the way for the CIA to reopen overseas “black site” prisons, like those where it detained and tortured terrorism suspects before former President Barack Obama shut them down,” wrote New York Times reporter Charlie Savage.
“President Donald Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was ‘surprised’ by a report of a draft executive order directing the agency to reexamine the use of interrogation techniques that are legally considered torture, a source with knowledge of the director’s thinking told CNN.”
In response, to the leaked Trump torture documents, Senator Reed released the following statement:
“Whether this is an official White House document or not, all Americans should be alarmed that, with one stroke of the pen, the Trump Administration could undermine America’s moral authority by trying to bring back ineffective and un-American detention and interrogation policies.
“Torture is illegal, immoral, and ineffective. It stands in stark contrast to our Constitution and values. The President doesn’t have the authority to order torture. Period.
“Military leaders and national security experts tell us that torture doesn’t lead to reliable, actionable intelligence – it leads to false confessions that can be used for propaganda purposes. Today, America’s enemies are using our past reliance on waterboarding and coercive techniques for similar propaganda purposes. A return to these techniques would only fuel ISIL and al Qaeda propaganda machines and could be a boon to their recruiting efforts.
“Reopening so-called black sites that operate outside the law does not make us safer. President Obama ordered these facilities shuttered in 2009 because they were undermining the intelligence-gathering value of interrogations and damaged our global standing.
“We must adhere to our highest ideals and ensure the safety of the American people. The reported draft executive order on detentions and interrogations would be irresponsible, undermine our national security, put our troops a greater risk, and is likely to further alienate our allies and partners. It would drag us back to a dark chapter that does not reflect our values or the progress we have made in the fight against terrorism.
“I’m pleased there’s been swift and bipartisan condemnation to reports that President Trump was considering an executive order to try and revive failed detention and interrogation practices. These types of tactics were repudiated by our military leaders and many others when discovered, and any change to the law can only come through an act of Congress. I will remain steadfast in my opposition to any such change.”