Maine’s two senators, both of whom serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, condemned the Bush-era CIA interrogation practices outlined in a new report made public Tuesday as “torture.”
Neither Republican Sen. Susan Collins nor Independent Sen. Angus King served on the committee when the CIA was using the maneuvers in the wake of 9/11 in hopes of tracking down Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda operatives. Both also offered sharp criticism of the partisan manner in which the report was compiled, with Democrats excluding Republicans from the process.
“Despite these significant flaws, the report’s findings lead me to conclude that some detainees were subjected to techniques that constituted torture. This inhumane and brutal treatment never should have occurred,” Collins said in a statement.
Collins said the report was wrong in its conclusion that none of the torture resulted in quality intelligence, but pointed out that torture doesn’t need to be ineffective in order to warrant a ban.
“The prohibition against torture in both U.S. law and international law is not based on an evaluation of its efficacy at eliciting information. Rather, the prohibition was put in place because torture is immoral and contrary to our values,” she said, putting her at odds with some of her Republican colleagues.
While President Barack Obama banned the use of waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” at the start of his presidency, Collins calls for outlawing waterboarding so his decision cannot be overturned by a subsequent president. She also said there should be greater congressional oversight of the CIA by broadening the number of members privy to certain classified information.
King, who caucuses with Democrats, concurred with Collins that the report could have been more bipartisan in nature, and also condemned the findings.
“Such brutality is unacceptable, and the misconduct on the part of some of the individuals involved in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which is documented in the study, is inexplicable,” he said in a release.
But King also agrees with the report’s conclusion that the techniques bore no fruit in the hunt for Bin Laden.
“Based upon this review, it appears to me that the enhanced interrogation techniques were not effective in producing the type of unique and reliable information claimed by the agency’s leadership, and should never again be employed by our government,” he said.
During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” King called the report “chilling.”
“Did we torture people? Yes. Did it work? No,” he said. “This is not America. This is not who we are. What was done diminished our stature and inflamed [Islamist extremists], terrorists around the world.”