The U.S. Senate has voted to outlaw a number of forms of torture, used by the CIA and U.S. military while interrogating suspects. Under the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015, forms of torture, including waterboarding, “rectal feeding,” mock executions, hooding prisoners, and sexual humiliation would be illegal.
By a vote of 78 to 21, the Senate agreed on an amendment to the NDAA that limits the US government to interrogation and detention rules delineated in the US Army Field Manual. The amendment also requires that US officials immediately notify the International Red Cross in the event of an individual taken into US custody or control.
The amendment comes after late last year, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a 6,000 page report, five years in the making, on post-911 torture techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, which examined the contents of six million internal CIA documents. According to The New York Times, the report noted that the CIA often misled congressional and White House officials about the effectiveness of the techniques that were being used, the level of brutality of those techniques, and what information the techniques actually produced.
Based on twenty case studies examined in the report, investigators concluded that enhanced interrogation techniques were not as effective as less brutal methods when it came to providing useful information that could be used to stop a terror plot.
The NDAA amendment was introduced last week by Republican Sen. John McCain and is co-sponsored by Democrat Dianne Feinstein, the former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Below, Sen. McCain explains his reasoning behind the amendment in which he says, “Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.”
The US House must now vote on the amendment within the larger defense authorization bill, which sets budget and expenditure limits for the US Department of Defense.