Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) spoke about the newly released CIA Torture Report on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, decrying the use of harsh interrogation methods against detainees.
In light of reports about the CIA torturing detainees under a counterterrorism program authorised by President George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11th attacks in 2001, McCain noted that “even our enemies possess basic human rights.”
“I have often said … that this question isn’t about our enemies, it’s about us,” McCain said. “It’s about who we were, who we are, and who we aspire to be.”
“Our enemies act without conscience,” he said. “We must not.”
McCain continued: “We need not risk our national honour to prevail in this or any war.”
Torture programs described in the report included “rectal feeding,” sleep deprivation, and mock executions. The report also said the CIA engaged in efforts to manipulate media coverage of the torture program.
The CIA later misled the public about how effective the interrogation methods were.
“Torture produces [provided] more misleading information than actionable intelligence,” McCain said.
He said the CIA interrogations “stained our national honour.”
McCain was tortured during the Vietnam War while he was a prisoner of war. He has adamantly opposed the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding against terrorism suspects.
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