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July 01, 2013

ABA urges WH comments on Senate CIA study

 ABA President Laurel G. Bellows urged the White House last month to submit comments to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the committee’s Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program. The study was approved by the committee in December and transmitted to relevant agencies for review with the request that the White House coordinate and submit comprehensive comments.

According to committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the study “uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight.”

The committee stated in its report on the study that once it receives the administration’s feedback, committee members will consider the comments and discuss recommendations for reform and public release of the study.

In her June 27 letter to President Obama, Bellows urged the president to recommend public release of the study with portions that are essential to national security redacted.

“Public release of the study would provide long-overdue accountability at home and abroad,” Bellows said, adding that release also would demonstrate that the United States is committed to fulfilling its international obligations to investigate allegations of torture. Americans also for the first time would be able to evaluate claims about the lawfulness of, necessity for, and effectiveness of the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation,” she concluded.

Bellows explained that the ABA has long condemned the use of torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment of persons in custody or under the physical control of the U.S. government and strongly supported the president’s 2009 executive order closing CIA “black sites” where detainee interrogation abuses had been found. 

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