Anti-torture legislation passed the Senate on Wednesday and is headed for a likely veto from President Bush, according to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. The Intelligence Authorization Act applies the Army Field Manual to all government interrogations, making clear that horrific and long-prohibited practices are illegal.
"All the military officials, General Petraeus, have deplored the use of abusive and cruel interrogation techniques. Such methods damage our reputation, hamper our efforts to fight terrorism. It’s just regrettable," Harkin says, "because this administration has chosen to ignore what is already clear law, Congress again reiterates, torture is immoral, ineffective and illegal."
Harkin, a Democrat, says the legislation makes it clear that the abuse and torture of detainees is a crime that will not be tolerated. He’s dismayed the president has vowed to veto the measure, adding, "The Bush administration has refused to acknowledge that the practices it has employed, including waterboarding, electrical shocks, beatings, the use of dogs, forcing prisoners to stand naked, and induced hypothermia, are illegal."
Harkin says: "Now we know that the Bush administration used waterboarding and other forms of torture. What we’re saying is, "No, we’re not going to have that happen in the future." The president says he wants to be able to decide whether they can use torture or not. Imagine that. The president thinks he can be above the law." If the president does veto the legislation, Harkin says he’s holding out hope that veto can be overridden.