Roll Call: Who In Congress Voted AGAINST Torture Reform?
Today saw the release of the Torture Report from the Senate Intelligence Committee. The CIA, whose “enhanced interrogation techniques” the report describes, has been trying to prevent the report’s release. The Central Intelligence Agency even engaged in criminal behavior to stop the facts in the report from being declassified. The agency sent spies into the offices of the Senate Intelligence Committee, breaking into secure U.S. Senate computer to try to destroy the work of the committee’s investigation.
Today, we officially were told that the CIA was doing brutal things to its prisoners. The Administration of George W. Bush called it “enhanced interrogation techniques”, so that Republicans like Rush Limbaugh could laugh, and say that it was nothing serious, just equivalent to college hazing rituals
The CIA holds astonishing forms of power. It is now undeniable that the CIA has used that power with rampant dishonesty and brutality. The CIA has proven to be unworthy of the public trust. The CIA poses more of a threat to our nation than the external threats it claims to protect us from. The CIA should therefore be dismantled, and replaced with a new intelligence agency that is subject to robust oversight.
But hey, I know. That’s not going to happen. What could reasonably take place, however, is some serious reform to prevent the CIA from ever, ever engaging in torture again.
The chances of even this happening aren’t good. As I reported earlier this autumn, A congressional resolution by John Lewis, simply stating support for United Nations anti-torture conventions, only got 10 co-sponsors out of the hundreds of members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The co-sponsors were: James McGovern, Barbara Lee, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jim McDermott, Charles Rangel, Raul Grijalva, Frederica Wilson, Lloyd Doggett, Steve Cohen, and Shiela Jackson Lee. These Democratic politicians have a right to be proud of their stand, but every other member of the U.S. House – including most Democrats -chose to ignore the issue of torture.
Back in 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives had the chance to vote to approve a legislative amendment that would force members of the military who are conducting interrogations of prisoners to wear video cameras to ensure that they do not violate laws against torture. Many of the politicians who voted against this anti-torture reform have retired since that time, but the following anti-reform politicians remain in Congress:
Doc Hastings (WA)
In 2007, Michael Mukasey was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Attorney General of the United States, even though he refused to admit that the CIA had committed torture, and pledged to protect, rather than prosecute, any CIA agents who had committed torture. Of those who voted to confirm Mukasey anyway, the following are still U.S. senators today:
Look at that. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s name is on the list. As much as Senator Feinstein cast blame at others for allowing CIA torture to take place, she herself has a long history of voting against efforts to stop torture and to hold accountable those who have committed. If only the Senate Intelligence Committee had investigated support for torture policies within the U.S. Senate itself, Dianne Feinstein’s name would have figured prominently in the roll call of shame.