Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein is calling on President Obama to help “prevent the use future use of torture” by the U.S. government, a move that comes on the heels of her panel’s release of its investigation into the CIA’s now-defunct “enhanced interrogation” program.
In a letter sent to Obama last week and released Monday, Feinstein outlines a list of proposals that are “intended to make sure that the United States never again engages in actions that you have acknowledged were torture.”
“I believe that several of the committee’s findings should prompt additional oversight and better sharing of information for all covert action and significant intelligence-collection programs,” the California Democrat added.
Along with urging a series of executive actions from the president, Feinstein said she will introduce four of her recommendations as legislation at the start of the 114th Congress. Such a bill would largely serve to codify an executive order President Obama issued upon taking office in 2009 that outlawed certain interrogation methods, including waterboarding. It would establish the U.S. Army Field Manual as the “exclusive set of interrogation techniques,” require the government to promptly notify the Red Cross of all captured detainees, and ban CIA detention of detainees “beyond a short-term, transitory basis.”
Beyond aligning legislation with Obama’s past executive order, Feinstein intends for her bill to “close all torture loopholes” that allowed the CIA to use “coercive and abusive interrogation techniques” on its detainees held at foreign black sites.
“New legislation will make clear that such interrogation techniques are prohibited,” Feinstein’s letter reads.
The White House said it was reviewing Feinstein’s recommendations but did not have further comment on the specific proposals. “As a general matter, however, we share the senator’s goal of ensuring the techniques that led to those recommendations are never employed again,” a National Security Council spokesman said in a statement.