26 Feb 2010

Democrat Effort to Insert Criminal Penalties into Intel Bill Fails

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With the media and the country distracted yesterday by President Obama’s health care summit, House democrats tried to slip provisions into the intelligence authorization bill that would not only have criminalized a number of controversial interrogation tactics, an “includes but is not limited to” provision would have made anything done by a US interrogator allegedly “degrading” to a prisoner potentially punishable by imprisonment.

Faced with strong Republican opposition and fearing the reaction of the public, the House leadership backed off and removed the entire bill from consideration.

The Hill:

[Intelligence committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) added language, originally offered by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.)] into the intelligence authorization bill that would establish criminal punishment for CIA agents and other intelligence officials who engage in “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” during interrogations.

Democrats inserted an 11-page addition into the bill late Wednesday night as the House Rules Committee considered the legislation.

The provision, previously not vetted in committee, applied to “any officer or employee of the intelligence community” who during interrogations engages in beatings, infliction of pain or forced sexual acts. The bill said the acts covered by the provision would include inducing hypothermia, conducting mock executions or “depriving the [detainee] of necessary food, water, sleep, or medical care.”

The language gave Congress the discretion to determine what the terms mean, and it would have imposed punishments of up to 15 years in prison, and in some cases, life sentences if a detainee died as a result of the interrogation.

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Andrew McCarthy explains just how far the language went:

The provision is impossibly vague — who knows what “degrading” means? Proponents will say that they have itemized conduct that would trigger the statute (I’ll get to that in a second), but it is not true. The proposal says the conduct reached by the statute “includes but is not limited to” the itemized conduct. (My italics.) That means any interrogation tactic that a prosecutor subjectively believes is “degrading” (e.g., subjecting a Muslim detainee to interrogation by a female CIA officer) could be the basis for indicting a CIA interrogator. …

Waterboarding is not all. The Democrats’ bill would prohibit — with a penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment — the following tactics, among others:

    – “Exploiting the phobias of the individual”

    – Stress positions and the threatened use of force to maintain stress positions

    – “Depriving the individual of necessary food, water, sleep, or medical care”

    – Forced nudity

    – Using military working dogs (i.e., any use of them — not having them attack or menace the individual; just the mere presence of the dog if it might unnerve the detainee and, of course, “exploit his phobias”)

    – Coercing the individual to blaspheme or violate his religious beliefs (I wonder if Democrats understand the breadth of seemingly innocuous matters that jihadists take to be violations of their religious beliefs)

    – Exposure to “excessive” cold, heat or “cramped confinement” (excessive and cramped are not defined)

    – “Prolonged isolation”

    – “Placing hoods or sacks over the head of the individual”

Naturally, all of these tactics are interspersed with such acts as forcing the performance of sexual acts, beatings, electric shock, burns, inducing hypothermia or heat injury — as if all these acts were functionally equivalent. …

Democrats are saying they would prefer to see tens of thousands of Americans die than to see a KSM subjected to sleep-deprivation or to have his “phobias exploited.”

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One Feedback on "Democrat Effort to Insert Criminal Penalties into Intel Bill Fails"

Thalpy

Reyes and McDermott are punks. It is shameful that a number of our representatives have little or no allegiance to our country. Would it be asking too much to insist that prospective representatives and their staffs at least like America?



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