Washington, DC (December 9, 2014) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has long spoken with a clear, unambiguous voice against the use of torture, including during the earliest days following the September 11 attacks. Earlier this year, NACDL, together with other groups, submitted a letter to Senators Feinstein and Chambliss strongly urging the Committee to declassify and publicly release its report on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation program, explaining that:
"Torture is illegal under U.S. and international law; it is also immoral and – according to military and intelligence experts – ineffective and counterproductive….The use of torture and cruel treatment as official U.S. policy has had serious consequences for America's national security, foreign policy interests, and credibility in promoting human rights around the world. The Committee can begin to undo some of the damage done by publicly releasing its full study of the CIA's detention and interrogation program with as few redactions as possible. Release of this study is critical to establish the truth and prevent torture."
Today, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a heavily-redacted 500-plus page executive summary of a several thousand page report that was five years in the making. In it, the Committee details, among other things, that (i) conduct amounting to torture was in fact carried out by the CIA, (ii) the techniques were not effective and indeed often resulted in fabricated information, and (iii) significant information about the program provided by the CIA to both Executive and Legislative Branch officials, as well as the public and the media, was misleading, including concerning its degree of brutality.
NACDL President Theodore Simon said: "No longer can the press, the public or policymakers euphemistically refer to certain CIA conduct set forth in this report as 'enhanced interrogation techniques.' Even the un-redacted portions of the executive summary released today lay bare the truth of this horrific and shameful chapter in American history. It is also clear from the extent of the redactions and the failure to disclose the almost 7,000 page report that the American people and the world may never know the full extent to which the United States undermined the very rule of law it was instrumental in formulating. While the contents of today's report represent a profound departure from the principles upon which our society is based, by providing a more comprehensive accounting to the public, this report reinforces all of the reasons why America must never again engage in torture."
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The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.