Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 10, 2014

Senator McCain on American Torture

Filed under: Congress and HLS,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Arnold Bogis on December 10, 2014

Obviously, the big news is yesterday’s release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA Interrogation Techniques following 9/11.  The text of the publicly available document can be found here.

The Minority viewpoint can be downloaded here.

Additional views here.

I can’t think of much to add to this discussion, at least at this point.  Most likely one’s opinion aligns closely with one’s political affiliation.  Or, at the very least, was cemented years ago with little chance of movement caused by newly declassified details.  I could be wrong.

Regardless, I was moved by Senator McCain’s statement in support of the release of this report and thought it worth sharing.


If you’d like to dive into the weeds of the report, the good folks at the Lawfare Blog are methodically posting direct comparisons between the majority’s conclusions, the minority’s dissent, and the CIA’s rebuttal.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

December 10, 2014 @ 9:24 am

Thanks Arnold for this helpful post and links!

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 10, 2014 @ 9:39 am

Senator McCain’s floor speech outstanding! IMO!

Comment by S. T. More

December 17, 2014 @ 1:04 am

Thanks for the post and I agree that Senator McCain’s floor speech was admirable and worth listening to. It was spoken from the heart, informed by his own difficult personal experience, and inspiring. I particularly liked the ending that “we need only remember tin the worst of times…that we are always Americans different, stronger, and better than those who would destroy us.”

Yet, aspiration and ideals aside, several recent polls apparently show that Americans, while uncomfortable with torture (or EIT), and while they may share Senator McCain’s aspirations, do not share the view that such methods are neither necessary nor effective.



So, have Americans abandoned their ideals, or have world events and the brutality of groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS changed Americans in a fundamental way or at least their views of what they are willing to do to address this threat? Hard to know, and I can say that I have vacillated in my own view of what is or isn’t acceptable, or necessary.

I have not read the summary of the report and thus have no opinion at this time about its content other than what I have seen or heard about it in the media. I do take issue, however, with the report in one signifiant way, and that it its drafting and issuance by only the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence committee. I believe that all critically important and difficult issues in the country—especially where bad news or difficult solutions or measures need to be taken, are always better done, and more credible when members of both parties have to work together and agree on the findings and recommendations. This is not impossible, and is something Congress should require of itself, especially with something so controversial and issued in such a highly partisan and divided atmosphere that exists in government and in the country. This was the case when other difficult issues were addressed such as by the 9-11 Commission and Simpson-Bowles. The failure to do so leads to the type of criticism and division about its contents that has predictably followed.

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