Groups Ask Obama to Back Release of Senate Report on Torture

On January 22, a coalition of human rights and civil liberties groups urged President Obama to use the fifth anniversary of his executive order ending “enhanced interrogation” as an opportunity to publicly support the release of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s treatment of suspected terrorists after 9/11.  The committee adopted the 6,300-page report in December, 2012, but so far none of it has been made available to public.

“There are strong indications that the Committee’s study vindicates your Executive Order,” the groups wrote to the president, “and that the CIA repeatedly misled the Congress, the Justice Department and the White House about the torture program. Releasing the Intelligence Committee report would be a significant step in establishing the truth and creating a bulwark against the possibility that torture will ever be used again.”

Five years ago, the president signed Executive Order 13491to promote the humane treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and U.S. personnel who might be captured abroad, to improve the efficacy of interrogations, and to ensure that the U.S. respects domestic and international laws that prohibit torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.  However, executive orders don’t bind future presidents, and there’s no guarantee that EO 13491 will survive in a future administration.  This blog post has more information.

Joining TCP in asking the president to take a public position on releasing the SSCI report were American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, The Center for Victims of Torture, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Open Society Policy Center and Physicians for Human Rights.

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