Senate Torture Report Shows Need for Accountability, Says ACLU

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Bell, 212-549-2508, jbell@aclu.org

Senate Torture Report Shows Need for Accountability, Says ACLU

WASHINGTON - The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today released the executive summary and findings of its landmark report on the CIA’s rendition, secret detention, and torture program.

The full report was adopted in December 2012 by a bipartisan majority of the committee after nearly five years of investigation. Today’s release comes after long negotiations between the committee and the White House over redactions requested by the CIA.

Responding to the report, the American Civil Liberties Union released a detailed plan for full accountability, and ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero had this reaction:

“This is a shocking report, and it is impossible to read it without feeling immense outrage that our government engaged in these terrible crimes. This report definitively drags into the light the horrific details of illegal torture, details that both the Bush and Obama administrations have worked hard to sweep under the rug. The government officials who authorized illegal activity need to be held accountable. The administration’s current position – doing absolutely nothing – is tantamount to issuing tacit pardons. Tacit pardons are worse than formal ones because they undermine the rule of law. The CIA’s wrongful acts violated basic human rights, served as a huge recruiting tool for our enemies, and alienated allies world-wide. Our response to the damning evidence in this report will define us as a nation.

“This should be the beginning of a process, not the end. The report should shock President Obama and Congress into action, to make sure that torture and cruelty are never used again. The Department of Justice needs to appoint a special prosecutor to hold the architects and perpetrators of the torture program accountable for its design, implementation, and cover-ups. Congress must assert its constitutional role in the system of checks and balances, and oversee the CIA, which in this report sounds more like a rogue paramilitary group than the intelligence gathering agency that it’s supposed to be. The president needs to use the moral authority of his office to formally recognize both the torture program’s victims and those in government who resisted this shameful and illegal policy."

Over the course of a decade, ACLU FOIA litigation has resulted in the release of the 100,000 pages of documents relating to the torture policies, which are available in a searchable database.

The ACLU’s full recommendations are at:
https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/torture_accountability_blueprint.pdf

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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